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   2012| September-December  | Volume 16 | Issue 3  
    Online since May 13, 2013

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Asbestosis: Past voices from the Mumbai factory floor
Abhijeet V Jadhav, Nobhojit Roy
September-December 2012, 16(3):131-136
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111758  PMID:23776323
Background: Asbestos's production, processing, and consumption is on very high scale in India and it is increasing, and so do the related diseases. Asbestosis is such a disease which causes progressive respiratory disability. Aim: To find out perceptions and thinking about this disease and its risk among the patients which will help in constructing an effective community-based prevention and rehabilitation program. Materials and Methods: It was a community-based, qualitative study using a semi-structured interview schedule with 17 asbestosis patients from Mumbai, disgnosed by specialist with pulmonary function test and X-rays as per International Labour Organisation's recommandations. Results: The risk percived by the patients is very less and attitude toward the illness is bengine as there is no clear understanding about the causation. The prolong latent period appears to be the main cause. It suggests a need of very strong program for prevention of asbestosis with the incorporation of worker awareness and eduaction for safety. The socio-economical status and educational levels of the workers make this floating population more vulnarable for manipulation by the corporates. Conclusion: Apart from the radical step of ban on asbestos, there is a need of community-based sustainable, affordable, and accessible rehabilitation program with a component of palliative care which will consider the different needs of this marginalized group. The need for such a program is intense as the number of asbestisis patients will keep on increasing till 30 to 40 years of asbestos ban.
  4,275 60 -
Non-occupational exposure to silica dust
LJ Bhagia
September-December 2012, 16(3):95-100
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111744  PMID:23776316
Occupational exposure to silica occurs at workplaces in factories like quartz crushing facilities (silica flour milling), agate, ceramic, slate pencil, glass, stone quarries and mines, etc., Non-occupational exposure to silica dust can be from industrial sources in the vicinity of the industry as well as non-industrial sources. Recently, public concern regarding non-occupational or ambient exposure to crystalline silica has emerged making it important to gather information available on non-occupational exposures to silica dust and non-occupational silicosis. This paper reviews various non-occupational exposures reported in literature including some studies by the author. Methodology used in assessment of non-occupational exposures, standards for non-occupational exposures to silica dust and indirect estimation of cumulative risk % are also discussed.
  3,349 122 -
Biomarkers: A potential prognostic tool for silicosis
Jai Krishna Pandey, Deepa Agarwal
September-December 2012, 16(3):101-107
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111746  PMID:23776317
Long-term exposure to respirable dust containing silica leads to pneumoconiosis/silicosis. The disease is irreversible and incurable, and only preventive steps such as job rotation, use of personal protective equipment, etc., remain solutions to the problem. Under such a situation, early diagnosis or prediction may become very useful to control the disease. Biomarkers are biological parameters in blood serum that change their values with deposition of dust in the lung and onset of lung fibrosis. Since these biomarkers can help us to diagnose and in the prognosis of the disease before it is actually diagnosed by the conventional X-ray technique and lung function test used for diagnosis of silicosis. The present paper describes the various types of available biomarkers, their application and usefulness. The paper also suggests that further study of the behavior/level of these biomarkers on a specific subject with time may provide more useful information of a confirmatory nature for prevention of dust-linked diseases.
  3,344 95 -
Integrated healthy workplace model: An experience from North Indian industry
Jarnail Singh Thakur, Puneet Bains, Sitanshu Sekhar Kar, Sanjay Wadhwa, Prabha Moirangthem, Rajesh Kumar, Sanjay Wadwalker, Yashpal Sharma
September-December 2012, 16(3):108-113
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111750  PMID:23776318
Background: Keeping in view of rapid industrialization and growing Indian economy, there has been a substantial increase in the workforce in India. Currently there is no organized workplace model for promoting health of industrial workers in India. Objective: To develop and implement a healthy workplace model in three industrial settings of North India. Materials and Methods: An operations research was conducted for 12 months in purposively selected three industries of Chandigarh. In phase I, a multi-stakeholder workshop was conducted to finalize the components and tools for the healthy workplace model. NCD risk factors were assessed in 947 employees in these three industries. In phase II, the healthy workplace model was implemented on pilot basis for a period of 12 months in these three industries to finalize the model. Findings: Healthy workplace committee with involvement of representatives of management, labor union and research organization was formed in three industries. Various tools like comprehensive and rapid healthy workplace assessment forms, NCD work-lite format for risk factors surveillance and monitoring and evaluation format were developed. The prevalence of tobacco use, ever alcoholics was found to be 17.8% and 47%, respectively. Around one-third (28%) of employees complained of back pain in the past 12 months. Healthy workplace model with focus on three key components (physical environment, psychosocial work environment, and promoting healthy habits) was developed, implemented on pilot basis, and finalized based on experience in participating industries. A stepwise approach for model with a core, expanded, and optional components were also suggested. An accreditation system is also required for promoting healthy workplace program. Conclusion: Integrated healthy workplace model is feasible, could be implemented in industrial setting in northern India and needs to be pilot tested in other parts of the country.
  2,837 127 1
Current public health perspective of fluorosis mitigation project in Pavagada taluk, Karnataka
Halappa Mythri, Dinesh , Darshana Bennadi
September-December 2012, 16(3):124-126
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111754  PMID:23776321
Background: Fluoride has become a recurring theme in discussing water issues in India. In Karnataka, where groundwater sources are concentrated with fluorides the impact is devastating. Dental and spine-related ailments are showing up in many cities and villages. Several villages in Pavagada taluk in Tumkur district have fluoride concentration 5 times more than the permissible level. The different aspects to the problem are many defluoridation interventions were failure. Objective: To determine and compare fluoride level in water samples from Fluorosis mitigation project area. Materials and Methods: Samples of municipal water were collected in sterile containers in an unannounced visit. All the samples of water were assigned a code so that those undertaking analysis would be blind to the source. Fluoride levels were determined by an ion-selective electrode (Orion 94-09) method. Results: Mean fluoride level in the water samples collected in the project was 0.8 which was within the normal range. Conclusion: Even though the fluoride level was within the normal limits after implementation of flourosis mitigation project, ground reality was numbers of beneficiaries were less. Hence, proper planning and monitoring always becomes essential for any project to be successful.
  2,583 98 -
Noncommunicable disease risk profile of factory workers in Delhi
Jugal Kishore, Charu Kohli, Pramod Kumar Sharma, Ekta Sharma
September-December 2012, 16(3):137-141
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111761  PMID:23776324
Background: Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are becoming more prevalent in India. The data for presence of NCDs and its risk factors among factory workers is deficient in India. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional comparative study was carried out among 37 factory workers and equal number of comparable subjects from general population. Screening for presence of diabetes along with its risk factors was made in both the groups using pretested predesigned World Health Organization STEPwise approach to surveillance (WHO STEPS) questionnaire in rural area of Delhi. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 16 software. The estimation of risk in two groups was done with calculation of odds ratio (OR). P values less than 0.05 were considered significant. Results: A total of 74 participants were included in the present study. Hypertension and diabetes was present in 13.5 and 5.4% of factory workers and four (10.8%) and three (8.8%) subjects in comparative group, respectively. Seven (18.9%) factory and eight (21.6%) non-factory subjects fell in the category of current smoker or smokeless tobacco users. High density lipoprotein levels were found abnormal among one (2.7%) factory worker and nine (24.3%) subjects in comparative group (P-value = 0.01). Behavioral risk factors, alcohol consumption, and fruits and vegetable intake were significantly different among two groups. Conclusion: Factory workers were having better profile than non-factory subjects except for risk factors such as alcohol intake and inadequate fruits and vegetable intake. However, healthy worker effect phenomenon cannot be ruled out.
  2,426 132 1
Influence of shift work on cognitive performance in male business process outsourcing employees
Bijavara Shwetha, Honnamachanahalli Sudhakar
September-December 2012, 16(3):114-118
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111751  PMID:23776319
Background: India is a front runner in IT industry. Business process outsourcing (BPO) sector is a major part of IT industry with around 4.5 million employees. These employees are subjected to high work stress, odd working hours, and frequent shift changes leading to increased physical and mental health problems. Aim: To study the cognitive functions in male BPO employees exposed to regular shifts. Settings and Design: Young BPO employees from various BPO companies of Bangalore were tested for cognitive functions. Materials and Methods: Fifty male BPO employees exposed to regular shifts were assessed for various cognitive functions including tests for speed, attention, learning and memory, and executive function. They were compared with 50 non-BPO employees not working in shifts. Statistical analysis - Data was analysed by t-test and Mann-Whitney test using SPSS V.13.0. Results: BPO employees performed poorly compared to their controls in tests for mental speed, learning and memory, and response inhibition. No changes were seen between groups in tests for attention and working memory. Conclusion: Cognitive functions are impaired in BPO employees exposed to regular shift changes.
  2,413 85 -
Papillon-Lefevre syndrome-like presentation in chronic arsenicosis: A rare mimicry
Somak K Das, Tanusree Nath, Anirban Ghosal, Chanchal K Jana
September-December 2012, 16(3):145-148
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111765  PMID:23776326
Chronic arsenicosis is a major health and occupational problem in rural parts of West Bengal such as in parts of the Gangetic plain of India. Chronic arsenicosis occurs due to accidental ingestion of repeated amounts of small doses by those working with metal or by taking food or drink in which there are traces of arsenic. Chronic exposure may result accumulation in the hair, nail, and skin. Arsenic can also cross the placenta. Papillon-Lefθvre syndrome is a rare disease characterized by skin lesions caused by palmar-plantar hyperkeratosis and severe periodontal destruction involving both the primary and permanent dentitions. Until date, more than 200 cases have been reported worldwide. Palmoplantar hyperkeratosis is a major manifestation in both chronic arsenicosis and Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome. We report herein a rare case of chronic arsenicosis in a patient from rural Bengal, whose all features mimic Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome. It is probably the first case of Papillon-Lefevre syndrome-like presentation in chronic arsenicosis from India.
  2,250 59 -
Mesothelioma among shipyard workers in Monfalcone, Italy
Claudio Bianchi, Tommaso Bianchi
September-December 2012, 16(3):119-123
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111753  PMID:23776320
Background: The high mesothelioma incidence in Monfalcone, Italy, is mainly attributable to shipbuilding activity. Mesothelioma risk among shipyard workers in Monfalcone is poorly defined. Materials and Methods: Workers hired at the Monfalcone shipyards in the period 1950-1959 were identified by surveying shipyard roll. The list of the workers was coupled with the archive data of Monfalcone and Trieste Hospitals. Mesotheliomas diagnosed in the above people were reexamined. Results: Of 1,403 workers hired in 1950-1959, 35 were diagnosed with mesothelioma (34 pleural, one peritoneal) between 1978 and 2012. Latency periods exceeded 40 years in 31 cases. The highest percentage of mesotheliomas was observed among people aged 14-19 years at hiring time (3.4%). Four mesothelioma patients had a blood relative with the same tumor. Conclusions: The present findings show high mesothelioma percentage among shipyard workers hired at young ages. The effects of asbestos exposure begun in 1950-1959 cannot be considered as exhausted.
  2,196 52 1
Assessment of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase activities in blood plasma of agriculture workers
V Dhananjayan, B Ravichandran, N Anitha, HR Rajmohan
September-December 2012, 16(3):127-130
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111755  PMID:23776322
Background: Cholinesterase determination indicates whether the person has been under pesticide exposure is not. It is recommended that the worker's cholinesterase level should be assessed for workers at a pesticide applied region. Hence, cholinesterase activities in blood samples of agricultural workers exposed to vegetables and grape cultivation with age matched, unexposed workers, who never had any exposure to pesticides, were estimated. Methods: The detailed occupational history and lifestyle characters were obtained by questionnaire. Cholinesterase activity was determined by the method of Ellman as modified by Chambers and Chambers. Results: AChE was ranging from 1.65 to 3.54μmoles/min/ml in exposed subjects where as it was ranged from 2.22 to 3.51μmoles/min/ml in control subjects. BChE activity was ranging from 0.16 to 5.2μmoles/min/ml among exposed subjects, where as it was ranged from 2.19 to 5.06μmoles/min/ml in control subjects. The results showed statistically significant reduction in enzyme activities (AChE 14%; BChE 56%) among exposed subjects. Conclusion: It was concluded that the reduction in cholinesterase activity may lead to varieties of effects. Hence it is compulsory to use protective gadgets during pesticide spray. Further a continuous biomonitoring study is recommended to assess pesticide exposure.
  2,107 67 1
Respiratory morbidity due to ammonia exposure among the employees of a urea manufacturing industry located in western part of India
Naman Zala, Abhay Kavishvar
September-December 2012, 16(3):142-144
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111762  PMID:23776325
Ammonia is produced in the fertilizer industry. The amount of ammonia inhaled by employees of a urea manufacturing industry is very high. It would be interesting to study whether such an amount has any impact on the employees working there for many years. This study explores the magnitude of respiratory morbidity among employees of a urea manufacturing industry and to establish its association with exposure to ammonia. Data was collected related to significant respiratory illnesses of all the employees over a period of 10 years using computer-based medical record system of the industry's hospital. The results obtained from the data analysis showed that there is no cause and effect relationship between exposure to ammonia and respiratory morbidity. Thus it was advised to the medical authority at industry to go for mass treatment with anthelmintics and that all the employees should be screened for specific allergens and this information should be used while managing respiratory morbidity.
  1,941 77 -
Drainage and sewerage system in urban India: Need for action
S Ganesh Kumar, Nitin Joseph
September-December 2012, 16(3):150-151
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111767  PMID:23776328
  1,934 61 -
EHS challenges: Project sites
GK Kulkarni
September-December 2012, 16(3):93-94
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111742  PMID:23776315
  1,914 75 -
Nicotine and mobile mania: A new occupational threat to mankind
S Dwivedi, Ramesh Aggarwal
September-December 2012, 16(3):149-149
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.111766  PMID:23776327
  1,446 74 -