Volume 4 Number 9 January 2007
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Update of Study of Asbestos Disease in Libby Miners Published
Broadening the Reach for Best Practices of Handling Antineoplastic Drugs
Study of Effects in Women Cyclists Reported
Study Links Long Hours with Patient Risk
NIOSH Chief of Staff
Receives Meritorious Service Medal
Mine Research Official Named to Technical Panel
NIOSH Invites Applications
for Mine Refuge Chamber Project
Update from the NIOSH National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory
Changes to NFPA Standard Call for NIOSH Certification
Collaborative Project on Permeation Test Criteria Begins
NPPTL Releases October and November Figures on the Respirator Certification and Approval Process
Workplace Solutions: Preventing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders in Sonography
A year after the Sago mine disaster of January 2, 2006, the impact of the tragedy continues to be felt. As safety and health professionals, we are reminded that our work to identify, understand, and mitigate risks of injury and death in work environments has a profound human dimension.
The Sago disaster and the subsequent fatal explosion at the Darby mine in Kentucky on May 20, 2006, prompted the landmark Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (The MINER Act) which was signed on June 15, 2006 http://www.msha.gov/MinerAct/2006mineract.pdf. Among the charges given to NIOSH and its partners in the federal government, the Act:
NIOSH is working intently with its partners in the Mine Safety and Health Administration, other federal and state agencies, and the mining community to carry out its duties under the Act. Elsewhere in this issue, you will see news items about our solicitation of proposals for refuge chamber research, and about the formation of the technical study panel. The items provide links to further information about these initiatives, which I encourage you to read.
In coming months,
as these and other efforts progress, we will keep you informed through
new postings to the NIOSH web page, NIOSH eNews coverage, and other
channels. We welcome your interest and comments as we proceed.
|An updated NIOSH study of asbestos-related diseases among
vermiculite miners, millers, and processors in Libby, Montana, was published
on-line by Environmental Health Perspectives, a peer-reviewed research
journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, on January
3. The study followed the Libby workers through 2001 and found that they
had significantly higher than expected incidences of fatal asbestosis, lung
cancer, and cancer of the pleura. The findings were consistent with previous
mortality studies of workers from this cohort, which were published by NIOSH
researchers in the 1980s. The article is available online at http://www.ehponline.org/members/2007/9481/9481.pdf.
NIOSH information and recommendations for minimizing the generation and
inhalation of dust during the handling of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite
from Libby are on the NIOSH topic Web page at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/vermiculite/.
NIOSH researchers providing recommendations on best practices for controlling
occupational exposures involving antineoplastic drugs in health care settings
appears in the December 2006 issue of CA: A Cancer
Journal for Clinicians (http://caonline.amcancersoc.org/current.shtml).
The journal, which is published by the American Cancer Society, describes
itself as the most widely circulated cancer journal in the world. The article, “Preventing
Occupational Exposures to Antineoplastic Drugs in Health Care Settings,” broadens
the audience reach of the 2004 NIOSH
Alert on Hazardous Drugs (DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-165, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-165/)
to include oncologists, primary care physicians, and nurses. This is the
most recent information available promoting safe handling of antineoplastic
drugs for the more than 5.5 million healthcare workers potentially exposed.
Recent studies have shown that workers continue to be exposed despite improvements
in safety policies and procedures since the 1980s. Contact Tom Connor at TConnor@cdc.gov for
|Women who participated
in prolonged, frequent bicycling had decreased genital sensation and were
more likely to have a history of genital pain than women runners, a study
by researchers from NIOSH, Yale University’s
School of Medicine, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine found. The findings
were published in the November 2006 issue of the Journal for Sexual
Medicine. An abstract is available on line at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00317.x.
The study did not address the long-term effects of bicycling on genital
sensation or women’s sexual health. It proceeded from earlier research
among police bicycle patrol officers, which suggested that prolonged bicycle
riding may have negative effects on nocturnal erectile function in men and
indicate a need for innovative bicycle saddle designs. More information
about NIOSH occupational health research on bicycle saddles and reproductive
health is available at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/bike/.
reported that working five extra-long shifts, of 24 hours or more at
a time without rest, per month led to a 300 percent increase in their
chances of making a fatigue-related preventable adverse event that contributed
to the death of a patient, according to a new study funded by NIOSH and
the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Preventable adverse events
are defined as medical errors that cause harm to a patient. "In conjunction with earlier research showing
that medical interns also have an increased risk for car crashes after
leaving work at the end of an extra-long shift, this new study adds further
evidence that issues of occupational safety, health, and quality of patient
care in the health-care setting are closely linked," said NIOSH Director
John Howard M.D. The study was published December 12, 2006, in the
on-line, peer-reviewed journal PLoS Medicine http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0030487.
More information about the earlier study on medical interns' risk for car
crashes linked with extra-long shifts can be found in the February 2005
Jurgen F. Brune, chief of the Disaster Prevention and Response Branch
Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, was named to a federal Technical Study
Panel on the utilization of belt air and the composition and fire retardant
properties of belt materials in underground coal mining. The panel
was created under Section 11 of the Mine Improvement and New Emergency
Response (MINER) Act of 2006 and will prepare and submit a report to
the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services,
and Senate and House Committees. Dr. Brune is one of six panel members.
More information on the study panel is available from the Mine Safety
and Health Administration at http://www.msha.gov/MinerAct/BeltAir/BeltAir.asp.
|On December 18, 2006, NIOSH invited applications for a contract
to develop engineering guidelines for refuge chambers in mines. The work
will support a mandate for NIOSH research under the MINER Act of 2006.
In several countries, refuge chambers are accepted as a means of survival
for miners in underground mines after a disaster, if escape is not feasible.
In the U.S., as a result of the Sago and Darby mine disasters, several
states now require or will require the use of refuge chambers. The NIOSH
solicitation is available at http://www.fbo.gov/spg/HHS/CDCP/CMBP/2007%2DN%2D09190/listing.html.
NIOSH Partners in Beryllium Sample Method Validation
NIOSH toxicity studies on nano-scale particles were presented at a November 27, 2006, symposium, “Nanotoxicology: Potential Risks and Safety Assessment” at Sweden’s Nobel Forum. This symposium on nanotoxicology, the first symposium of its kind in Sweden, covered a wide spectrum of topics of relevance to the understanding of properties and effects of nano-sized particles that have implications for occupational health. The symposium was hosted by the Institute of Environmental Medicine at Karolinska Institutet, and was sponsored, in part, by the Swedish Society of Toxicology. NIOSH joined more than 100 participants from academic institutions, industry, and government agencies, and Swedish Public Radio broadcast short interviews with two of the invited speakers, Dr. Anna Shvedova of NIOSH and Dr. Eva Hellsten of the European Commission. A review based on the Nobel Forum symposium will be published early next year in the journal Nanotoxicology.
Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare
Workers During an Influenza Pandemic
Changes to NFPA Standard Call for NIOSH Certification
Project on Permeation Test Criteria Begin
NPPTL Releases October and November Figures
on the Respirator Certification and Approval Process
The Engineering Evaluation team conducted two quality assurance manual
audits to evaluate the quality assurance process and manufacturing practices.
One product audit was initiated. The Certified Product Investigation
Process completed three evaluations of previously certified products.
Seven new approvals and two modifications of approval were for CBRN respirators.
Just a reminder of several upcoming paper and poster submission deadlines for occupational safety and health related conferences.
Survey and Analysis of Air Transportation Safety
Among Air Carrier Operators and Pilots in Alaska
Workplace Solutions: Preventing Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders
Chamber: A fixed or portable
chamber at a strategic location in an underground mine, where miners may
take haven and survive for an extended period if they are unable to escape
from a mine during or after an emergency.