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   2009| September-December  | Volume 13 | Issue 3  
    Online since January 12, 2010

 
 
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REVIEW ARTICLES
Occupational lifestyle diseases: An emerging issue
Mukesh Sharma, PK Majumdar
September-December 2009, 13(3):109-112
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58912  PMID:20442827
Lifestyle diseases characterize those diseases whose occurrence is primarily based on the daily habits of people and are a result of an inappropriate relationship of people with their environment. The main factors contributing to lifestyle diseases include bad food habits, physical inactivity, wrong body posture, and disturbed biological clock. A report, jointly prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Economic Forum, says India will incur an accumulated loss of $236.6 billion by 2015 on account of unhealthy lifestyles and faulty diet. According to the report, 60% of all deaths worldwide in 2005 (35 million) resulted from noncommunicable diseases and accounted for 44% of premature deaths. What's worse, around 80% of these deaths will occur in low and middle-income countries like India which are also crippled by an ever increasing burden of infectious diseases, poor maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies. According to a survey conducted by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ASSOC-HAM), 68% of working women in the age bracket of 21-52 years were found to be afflicted with lifestyle ailments such as obesity, depression, chronic backache, diabetes and hypertension. The study 'Preventive Healthcare and Corporate Female Workforce' also said that long hours and working under strict deadlines cause up to 75% of working women to suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder, compared to women with lesser levels of psychological demand at work. The study cited scientific evidence that healthy diet and adequate physical activity - at least 30 minutes of moderate activity at least five days a week - helped prevent NCDs. In India, 10% of adults suffer from hypertension while the country is home to 25-30 million diabetics. Three out of every 1,000 people suffer a stroke. The number of deaths due to heart attack is projected to increase from 1.2 million to 2 million in 2010. The diet [or lifestyle] of different populations might partly determine their rates of cancer, and the basis for this hypothesis was strengthened by results of studies showing that people who migrate from one country to another generally acquire the cancer rates of the new host country, suggesting that environmental [or lifestyle factors] rather than genetic factors are the key determinants of the international variation in cancer rates. Some of the common diseases encountered because of occupational lifestyle are Alzheimer's disease, arteriosclerosis, cancer, chronic liver disease/cirrhosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, nephritis/CRF, and stroke. Occupational lifestyle diseases include those caused by the factors present in the vicinity like heat, sound, dust, fumes, smoke, cold, and other pollutants. These factors are responsible for allergy, respiratory and hearing problems, and heat or cold shock. So, A healthy lifestyle must be adopted to combat these diseases with a proper balanced diet, physical activity and by giving due respect to biological clock. Kids spending too much time slouched in front of the TV or PCs, should be encourage to find a physical sport or activity they enjoy. Fun exercises should be encouraged into family outings. A pizza-and-video evening should be replaced for a hike and picnic. Kids who do participate in sport, especially at a high competitive level, can find the pressure to succeed very stressful. To decrease the ailments caused by occupational postures, one should avoid long sitting hours and should take frequent breaks for stretching or for other works involving physical movements.
  41,737 2,276 12
Strategies and policies deteriorate occupational health situation in India: A review based on social determinant framework
Asish Kumar Mandal
September-December 2009, 13(3):113-120
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58913  PMID:20442828
Overwhelming evidence shows that hazardous work, working conditions, and environment fail to maintain homeostasis results in death or severe disability. Up to the 1980s, governments did not pay major attention to occupational health in developing countries, including India. The Bhopal Gas Tragedy, in 1984, was the turning point in the history of health and safety in India. It was time for the government to think deeply and review the existing legislative measures, for the upliftment of the occupational health situation in India. However, all the services remain grossly underutilized because of inadequate strategies, policies, and the lack of a proper monitoring mechanism, for occupational workers. The present study reviews the fact that Inaction or Destruction of Demands, Use of Power, Appeal to the existing bias of the system, and Exportation and Flexibility of the workers are some of the main reasons for the alarming situation of the Occupational Health Policy (OHP) in India. The existing and traditional condition of the laborers before and after independence is also highlighted in this article. Finally the threats are identified and options are provided to improve the health conditions of the workers.
  6,214 448 1
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Mapping 'Occupational Health' courses in India: A systematic review
SP Zodpey, Himanshu Negandhi, RR Tiwari
September-December 2009, 13(3):135-140
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58917  PMID:20442832
The occupational health scenario is undergoing a paradigm shift in developing countries with rapid industrialization. Inadequate human resource is, however, a concern. The creation of Basic Occupational Health Services will demand a further increase in specialist manpower. The current training capacity of occupational health specialists has been mapped by a systematic review in India. Twenty-one institutes have been identified all across the country. They have an existing capacity for training about 460 specialists. This number is inadequate considering the population of India's working class. A mixture of strategies must be urgently planned for addressing this issue.
  6,255 397 3
A study on oxidative stress and antioxidant status of agricultural workers exposed to organophosphorus insecticides during spraying
SK Rastogi, P.V.V Satyanarayan, D Ravishankar, Sachin Tripathi
September-December 2009, 13(3):131-134
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58916  PMID:20442831
Oxidative stress status and Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity were studied in blood samples obtained from 61 agricultural workers engaged in spraying organophosphorus (OP) insecticides in the mango plantation, with a minimum work history of one year, in the age range of 12-55 years. Controls were age-matched, unexposed workers, who never had any exposure to OP pesticides. They were evaluated for oxidative stress markers MDA (end product of lipid peroxidation), reduced glutathione (GSH), and Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) levels in blood. The results showed a marked inhibition of the AChE and BChE activities in the sprayers as compared to the controls. The malondialdehyde(MDA), the last product of lipid peroxidation was found to be increased significantly in sprayers(p<0.05), while depletion in the concentration of antioxidant glutathione(GSH) was also observed in the sprayers but the difference was statistically not significant. It was concluded on the basis of biochemical analysis that pesticides sprayers are exposed to more oxidative stress as evidenced by the changes in antioxidant status. The measurement of the AChE and BChE activities in agricultural workers who spray OPs could be a good biomonitoring factor and is recommended to be performed on a regular basis.
  5,826 401 19
Are people living next to mobile phone base stations more strained? Relationship of health concerns, self-estimated distance to base station, and psychological parameters
Christoph Augner, Gerhard W Hacker
September-December 2009, 13(3):141-145
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58918  PMID:20442833
Background and Aims: Coeval with the expansion of mobile phone technology and the associated obvious presence of mobile phone base stations, some people living close to these masts reported symptoms they attributed to electromagnetic fields (EMF). Public and scientific discussions arose with regard to whether these symptoms were due to EMF or were nocebo effects. The aim of this study was to find out if people who believe that they live close to base stations show psychological or psychobiological differences that would indicate more strain or stress. Furthermore, we wanted to detect the relevant connections linking self-estimated distance between home and the next mobile phone base station (DBS), daily use of mobile phone (MPU), EMF-health concerns, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and psychological strain parameters. Design, Materials and Methods: Fifty-seven participants completed standardized and non-standardized questionnaires that focused on the relevant parameters. In addition, saliva samples were used as an indication to determine the psychobiological strain by concentration of alpha-amylase, cortisol, immunoglobulin A (IgA), and substance P. Results: Self-declared base station neighbors (DBS ≤ 100 meters) had significantly higher concentrations of alpha-amylase in their saliva, higher rates in symptom checklist subscales (SCL) somatization, obsessive-compulsive, anxiety, phobic anxiety, and global strain index PST (Positive Symptom Total). There were no differences in EMF-related health concern scales. Conclusions: We conclude that self-declared base station neighbors are more strained than others. EMF-related health concerns cannot explain these findings. Further research should identify if actual EMF exposure or other factors are responsible for these results.
  5,908 301 7
Workplace tobacco cessation program in India: A success story
Gauravi A Mishra, Parishi V Majmudar, Subhadra D Gupta, Pallavi S Rane, Pallavi A Uplap, Surendra S Shastri
September-December 2009, 13(3):146-153
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58919  PMID:20442834
Context: This paper describes the follow-up interventions and results of the work place tobacco cessation study. Aims: To assess the tobacco quit rates among employees, through self report history, and validate it with rapid urine cotinine test; compare post-intervention KAP regarding tobacco consumption with the pre-intervention responses and assess the tobacco consumption pattern among contract employees and provide assistance to encourage quitting. Settings and Design: This is a cohort study implemented in a chemical industry in rural Maharashtra, India. Materials and Methods: All employees (104) were interviewed and screened for oral neoplasia. Active intervention in the form of awareness lectures, focus group discussions and if needed, pharmacotherapy was offered. Medical staff from the industrial medical unit and from a local referral hospital was trained. Awareness programs were arranged for the family members and contract employees. Statistical Analysis Used: Non-parametric statistical techniques and kappa. Results: Forty eight per cent employees consumed tobacco. The tobacco quit rates increased with each follow-up intervention session and reached 40% at the end of one year. There was 96% agreement between self report tobacco history and results of rapid urine cotinine test. The post-intervention KAP showed considerable improvement over the pre-intervention KAP. 56% of contract employees used tobacco and 55% among them had oral pre-cancerous lesions. Conclusions: A positive atmosphere towards tobacco quitting and positive peer pressure assisting each other in tobacco cessation was remarkably noted on the entire industrial campus. A comprehensive model workplace tobacco cessation program has been established, which can be replicated elsewhere.
  5,778 399 7
Pattern of use of personal protective equipments and measures during application of pesticides by agricultural workers in a rural area of Ahmednagar district, India
Bhoopendra Singh, Mudit Kumar Gupta
September-December 2009, 13(3):127-130
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58915  PMID:20442830
Background: Pesticides, despite their known toxicity, are widely used in developing countries for agricultural purposes. Objectives: To find various patterns of hardware use for spraying of insecticides, prevalent storage practice adopted by the user, types of personal protective equipments used for the handling of chemicals; to detect dangerous practices and the extent to which safety norms being followed by the users during the application/treatments, and finally their knowledge concerning the risks of pesticides. Materials and Methods: The agriculture workers who had been involved in pesticide application for agricultural purpose were interviewed face-to-face to gain information on the following determinants of pesticide exposure: Types, treatment equipment, use of personal protection and safety measures during the application/treatments and knowledge of the risks of pesticide exposure. Results: Hundred workers, aged between 21 and 60 years old, were included. Pesticides were mostly applied with manual equipment using Knapsack (70%) and only 5% farmers were using Tractor-mounted sprayer. Workers frequently performed tasks involving additional exposure to pesticides (mixing chemicals, 66%, or washing equipment, 65%). Majority of the workers/applicators used no personal protection measures or used it defectively/partially. Most of the workers/respondents (77%) did not bother for safety and health risks of pesticide exposure. Conclusions: Workers involved in pesticide application use personal protection measures very poorly and defectively. Almost half of the applicators were not following right direction with respect to wind direction while spraying, thus it increase the risk of exposure. There is a clear need to develop specific training and prevention programs for these workers. The determinants of pesticide exposure in agricultural workers described in this study should be properly assessed in epidemiological studies of the health effects of pesticides on agricultural workers at national level.
  5,535 303 6
Health risks of employees working in pesticide retail shops: An exploratory study
C Kesavachandran, MK Pathak, M Fareed, V Bihari, N Mathur, AK Srivastava
September-December 2009, 13(3):121-126
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58914  PMID:20442829
Background: Shop keepers dealing with pesticides are exposed to multiple pesticides that include organophosphates, organochlorines, carbamates, pyrethroids. Hence an exploratory health study was conducted on shopkeepers selling pesticides in urban areas of Lucknow and Barabanki District, Uttar Pradesh, India. Materials and Methods: Detailed information regarding socio-economic status, family history, personal habits and work practices were recorded for 20 subjects and controls by the investigator on a pre-tested questionnaire. Clinical examination including neurological studies of the shopkeepers and control subjects was done. Results: The study revealed significant slowing of motor nerve conduction velocity and low peak expiratory flow rate among shopkeepers as compared to control subjects. Prevalence of significantly higher gastro-intestinal problems was also observed among exposed subjects. Neurological, ocular, cardiovascular and musculo-skeletal symptoms were also found to be higher among shopkeepers. This was not statistically significant. Significantly higher relative risk for sickness related to systems viz., cardio-vasular, genito-urinary, respiratory, nervous and dermal was observed among exposed subjects compared to controls. Conclusions: These findings provide a prima facie evidence of clinical manifestations because of multiple exposures to pesticides and poor safety culture at work place.
  4,761 385 5
EDITORIAL
Ethics in occupational medicine
J Kumar
September-December 2009, 13(3):107-108
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58911  PMID:20442826
  3,825 538 -
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Climate change and the threat of deadly dozen
Harshal T Pandve, Kevin Fernandez, Samir A Singru, PS Chawla
September-December 2009, 13(3):154-154
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58920  PMID:20442835
  2,591 186 -
Rapid measurement of organophophorous level in serum
Viroj Wiwanitkit
September-December 2009, 13(3):155-155
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.58921  PMID:20442836
  1,989 173 -