Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine   Official publication of Indian Association of  0ccupational  Health  
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     Table of Contents - Current issue
September-December 2018
Volume 22 | Issue 3
Page Nos. 117-178

Online since Monday, December 17, 2018

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Occupational health surveillance p. 117
Damodar Vishnu Lele
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The untold story of fluoridation: Revisiting the changing perspectives p. 121
Maitreyee P Unde, Raju Umaji Patil, Persis P Dastoor
The discovery of fluoride in dentistry has revolutionized treatment modalities with a new aspect of prevention and conservation of tooth structure coming into foreplay. Since then, there has been a lot of research on both topical and systemic fluoridation in an overzealous attempt to control the most debilitating dental problem of caries. Although topical fluoride is still being widely used as a preventive measure for dental caries, systemic administration of the same has gained major criticism worldwide due to the low margin of safety of fluoride and no control over the amount of individual intake when administered on a community level. This problem is more prevalent in countries with presence of natural fluoride belts that extend from Turkey to China and Japan through Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan increasing the chances of both dental and skeletal fluorosis and hence increasing the focus toward defluoridation. This historical review highlights the distribution of fluoride worldwide and in India and also discusses about the various claims of the antifluoride lobby.
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Occupational and environmental exposure to lead and reproductive health impairment: An overview p. 128
Sunil Kumar
Lead is a heavy metal. It is used in lead-acid battery, as a coloring agent, paints, and metal alloyed as shielding materials, smelters, printing press, and so on. It is a toxic metal affecting various organs, and developing fetus and young children are more vulnerable to toxicity of lead. This overview is based on the information of toxic potential of lead to human reproduction and reproductive outcome. Exposure to lead may affect libido, semen quality by declining sperm count, motility, viability, integrity, elevation in morphological abnormalities, and sperm DNA integrity. These alterations led to reducing fertility potential and chances of miscarriages, preterm birth, and so on in a partner. Lead exposure impairs hormonal synthesis and regulations in both sexes. Lead exposure also affects female reproduction by impairing menstruations, reducing fertility potential, delaying conception time, altering the hormonal production, circulation, affecting pregnancy and its outcome, and so on. At present, the safe dose of lead cannot be advocated as more and more data are generated in recent years which indicate the toxic potential of lead to human reproduction at a low level that was previously thought not to have such effect. Hence, use of lead should be stopped/avoided or restricted to safeguard human reproduction.
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Upper extremity muscular strength in push–pull tasks: Model approach towards task design p. 138
Joydeep Majumder, Sanjay M Kotadiya, Lokesh Kumar Sharma, Sunil Kumar
Background: Pushing and pulling in workplaces are common actions. Repetitive forceful exertions in long-duration works lead to increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries. Aim: To investigate the upper extremity strength in generic push–pull modes while using hand tools and forecasting the limits of the workers while frequent or continuous operation. Settings and Design: The study was conducted among men workers in Ahmedabad city, India, and the design was cross-sectional study. Materials and Methods: In all, 100 men were recruited (Group 1: 18–39 years and Group 2: 40–60 years). Upper extremity muscular strength (isometric mode) testing of the preferred hand during push–pull type of manual hand-tool operations was carried out for 60 s. Forecasting of strength to generate predictions for future events (120 s) based on known past events (measured 60 s) was carried out using Holt–Winters time-series model. Statistical Analysis: Descriptive statistics was used for analysis. For prediction model evaluation, WEKA 3.8.2 was used. Results: Anthropometric parameters of both groups were similar, having no effect on generated strength. Largely, pull strength was recorded to be higher than push strength, wherein Group 2 men generated slightly higher strength. Seated strength was also higher than standing exertion. Forecasting reveals steady strength values for Group 1 men, whereas steep decline among Group 2 men with increasing duration of trial. Conclusion: The strength data generated would aid in work schedule design. Strength forecasting model would assist in developing engineering guidelines in the design of tools at workplace.
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Effects of occupational heat exposure on traffic police workers in Ahmedabad, Gujarat p. 144
Amee Raval, Priya Dutta, Abhiyant Tiwari, PS Ganguly, LM Sathish, Dileep Mavalankar, Jeremy Hess
One of the most concerning environmental effects of climate change is rising levels of extreme heat, which already poses serious risks in many parts of the world. In June and July 2015, we collected weekly heat exposure data using area and personal temperature monitoring in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The study was conducted at four different traffic junctions with a cohort of 16 traffic police. For information on health effects, we administered a baseline survey at the start of the study and prospectively followed up with the officers on prevalence of heat-related symptoms. Wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) levels ranged from 28.2°C to 36.1°C during the study period. Traffic police workers who participated in this study were exposed to WBGT levels higher than the recommended threshold limit value as per American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists guidelines even beyond the hottest months of the season. Our findings suggest that airport measurements by the Indian Meteorological Department may not accurately capture heat exposures among individuals who work in and alongside high-density traffic junctions. Based on our temperature estimates, traffic police are at risk for heat stress. India is likely to experience warmer temperatures and increased heat waves in the coming decades, fueled by climate change. Therefore, it is important to reduce current and future heat-related risks for traffic police workers and similar occupational risk groups by establishing protection strategies. The protocol established in this study for occupational heat exposure assessment could be applied to a larger cohort.
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The exposure to pollutants of the auto repair workers: Monitoring their oxidative stress p. 152
Roberto Menicagli, O Marotta, L Menicagli
Background and Aim: Auto repair workers are exposed to multiple pollutants, each of them potentially risks, dangerous for several target organs. The aim of this study is to identify their possible overall effect, by monitoring the concentration of salivary malondialdehyde, index of oxidative stress. Materials and Methods: Malondialdehyde of 25 male workers, smokers and non-smokers, further divided into two subgroups relatively to the amplitude of their working place, was monitored, in the saliva, with the Thiobarbituric acid method. The control group consists of 12 and 13 male smokers, and 13 non-smokers. Univariate (UVA) and Multivariate (MVA) analysis methods were used to analyze the results. Results: No variable is significant (P ≥ 0.05) for the control group using UVA, while age and smoking significantly increase the levels of MDA (P ≤ 0.05) using MVA. For workers group, the age and the place of work increase the MDA (P ≤ 0.05) using UVA analysis, while only the place of work remains significant (≤0.05) using MVA analysis. MVA analysis reveals that, besides the type of work, also the age and smoking significantly increase the level of MDA, as a result of a higher exposure to pollutants. Conclusions: You can check the cumulative effect of pollutants on auto repair workers, by monitoring the salivary malondialdehyde.
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Impact of school air quality on children's respiratory health p. 156
Peter Fsadni, Frank Bezzina, Claudia Fsadni, Stephen Montefort
Background: Asthma is common in children with indoor pollutants influencing the development of the disease. Since children spend most of their time outside their homes within the school environment, school indoor air quality can directly influence their respiratory health. Aims: This study aims to analyze the indoor and outdoor air quality of Maltese schools and if an association exists between indoor pollutants and respiratory health in children. Settings and Design: Five primary schools were selected with 9- to 11-year-old students participating. Materials and Methods: Standardized health questionnaires and lung function tests were utilized. Indoor and outdoor air sampling together with traffic counts were carried out. Statistical Analysis Used: SPSS version 21 was used and the Chi-squared, logistic regression, and Pearson's correlation were used. Results: The mean indoor PM 2.5 level of 17.78 μg/m3 and CO (9.11 ppm) exceeded World Health Organization thresholds. Indoor ozone levels exceeded the mean European school's indoor ozone concentration of 8 μg/m3. High exposure to formaldehyde, NO2, and ozone was associated with atopy in children. Heavy vehicles passing near the schools were associated with current wheezing (P < 0.001) but not nocturnal cough (P = 0.34). Conclusions: School indoor and outdoor environment has a direct impact on children's respiratory health. This study has identified significant associations between high exposures to indoor air pollutants, school characteristics, and upper and lower airway inflammation.
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Work related musculoskeletal disorders and postural stress of the women cultivators engaged in uprooting job of rice cultivation p. 163
Amitava Pal, Prakash C Dhara
Aims: A large number of workers including women are involved in the informal sector in India. A majority of them are engaged in agricultural sectors. The agricultural workers have to perform their jobs by putting manual labor and are exposed to different occupational stresses. The present study was aimed to evaluate postural stress and prevalence of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) of women cultivators engaged in uprooting job of rice cultivation. Settings and Design: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 166 women cultivators from different districts of West Bengal state, India. Materials and Methods: Prevalence and intensity of MSDs of the cultivators were evaluated by Nordic questionnaire and 10-point body part discomfort scale. Work rest pattern and postural pattern were studied by direct observation method. Postural stress was assessed by OVAKO Working Postures Analysis System (OWAS), Rapid Entire Body Assessment (REBA), Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA), and Quick Exposure Checklist (QEC) methods and as well as by measuring center of gravity. Results and Conclusions: MSD was highly prevalent among the study participants. Lower back, hip, wrist, shoulder, and knee were highly affected. Higher prevalence of MSDs among the cultivators may be because of prolonged working hours and awkward postures. The women cultivators had to start their day before dawn to finish off their household chores such as cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and dishes, etc., before they moved off to the fields, which altogether impose them under additional stress. It may be suggested that ergonomic interventions such as modifying work-rest schedules, improving work postures, and introducing new design hand tools should be considered for improving work condition of the women cultivators.
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A comparative study of byssinosis in jute industries p. 170
Asim Saha, Anirban Das, Bhaskar Prasad Chattopadhyay, Jane Alam, Tilak Kanti Dasgupta
Background: Byssinosis is an acute respiratory difficulty that is caused usually following exposure to cotton and hemp dust. Occurrence of such similar acute symptoms had been reported following exposure to jute dust/fiber also. With passage of time, Jute industries have modernized themselves for increased quality and productivity, which has lessened workforce and thereby provided more working space. However, occupational health benefit due to such changes has rarely been explored. This study was initiated to understand whether this modernization can protect the health of workers. Methodology: This study was carried out in two jute mills manufacturing jute clothes, jute bags, and so on. Interview of the workers for their occupational and morbidity details, medical examinations, as well as pre-shift and post-shift pulmonary function tests was carried out. Results: It was observed that chest tightness was significantly more in the industry with old technologies. Breathlessness was also more in this industry. As far as pulmonary function status is concerned, it was noted that greater than 5% cross-shift change in forced expiratory volume in one second was more common in the industry with old technology. Obstructive feature on lung function test was also observed in workers of both industries. Conclusion: The study concluded that exposure to jute dust has contributed to both acute and chronic respiratory health effects in the jute industry workers. Modernized industry showed lesser prevalence of acute symptoms and changes related to byssinosis. Modernization of processes in jute industries may prove fruitful in lowering the respiratory problems of workers.
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Nipah virus: South India in panic mode p. 177
Jasmine Shanthi Kamath, Shruthi Hegde, Vidya Ajila
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