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Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd

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News Archive

January 2005

Occupational Allergies in Africa

Occupational allergies resulting from immune hypersensitivity to substances encountered in the work environment constitute around 15% of all occupational diseases. These allergies are commonly caused by hazardous chemical substances or biological agents.

The latest edition of the African Newsletter on Occupational Health and Safety December 2004, volume 14, no.3 contains a number of interesting articles describing a range of workplaces in a number of African countries.

To obtain a copy contact: Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Topeliukenskatu 41 aA, FIN-00250 Helsinki, Finland | Fax: +358 30 474 2548 |

Mixed Exposures Research Agenda: report from US NIOSH

In April 1996, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and its partners unveiled the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA). NORA was developed by NIOSH and more than 500 partners in the public and private sectors to provide a framework to guide occupational safety and health research into the next decade. This effort to guide and coordinate research for the entire occupational safety and health research community is focused on 21 priority areas. The areas are divided into three categories: (1) disease and injury, (2) work environment and workforce, and (3) research tools and approaches.

One of the identified NORA priority areas in the environment and workforce category is the study of mixed exposures. Combining government researchers and industry experts, a NORA Mixed Exposures Team was established to facilitate the study of occupational mixed exposures. Workers from agriculture, construction, mining and other industries are commonly exposed to combinations of chemical substances, biological or physical agents, and other stressors. Knowledge is limited of the potential health effects of mixed exposures. Additional non work-related exposures (such as the consumption of alcohol or tobacco or the use of insect repellents, cosmetics, or other chemicals) and individual susceptibility also add to the complexity of exposure and resulting biological responses. New approaches are needed to identify additive, synergistic, antagonistic, or potentiation effects from multiple exposures (sequential or simultaneous). Identifying these effects can help characterize worker exposure, conduct research at environmentally relevant levels, improve laboratory and statistical analysis methods, and develop hazard controls that take into account the components of the mixtures.

Research has shown that physiological interactions from mixed exposures can lead to an increase in severity of the harmful effect. For example, exposure to noise and the solvent toluene results in a higher risk of hearing loss than exposure to either stressor alone. Exposure to carbon monoxide and methylene chloride produces elevated levels of carboxyhemoglobin, reducing the blood's ability to carry oxygen in our bodies. The problem of mixed exposures is multifaceted, given the large number of combinations that occur every day in a variety of workplaces and in our everyday life experiences.

This report is the product of the NORA partnership team formed from experts inside and outside the public sector. The NORA Mixed Exposures Team examined the literature, catalogued ongoing research, and identified significant research gaps. Through examination of knowledge gaps and opportunities to leverage overlapping interests, the team identified key areas in which new research could significantly advance the science needed to develop future interventions. Those products, once implemented, could be used to reduce the risk of occupational disease and injury to workers.

The intent of this document is to articulate many of the issues involved with mixed exposures as well as to recommend research strategies and define research priorities that could lead to improved interventions for protecting workers from mixed exposures. NIOSH hope that this document will facilitate further dialogue about mixed exposures and generate keen interest among occupational safety and health researchers to devote attention to this important research area. In particular, we envision that this document could be used as the working paper for a future workshop on mixed exposure research needs and could help stimulate new outcome-focused research proposals. NIOSH will use the priorities outlined in this document (and refined through future workshops) as a tool for directing our internal research program, and for guiding their extramural activities.

The publication Mixed Exposures Research Agenda NIOSH Publication No. 2005-106 is available on

or from NIOSH Publications Dissemination, 4676 Columbia Highway, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998, USA | Tel: 1-513-533-8573 | Fax-on-demand 1-888-232-3299

German Brochure BG Research of the HVBG

This brochure presents the activities of the three Institutes (BIA, BGAG und BGFA) operated and funded by the Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG, Federation of institutions for statutory accident insurance and prevention), and the ways in which extra-mural research is funded. The wide range of disciplines and the strict orientation towards the needs of the BGs ensure that the research subjects are addressed in an interdisciplinary und practical fashion. The brochure can be ordered in German and in English by email:

Silicosis: Learn the Facts! Do you work in construction or do abrasive blasting?

Silicosis is a disabling and often fatal lung disease caused by breathing dust that has very small pieces of crystalline silica in it. Crystalline silica is found in concrete, masonry, sandstone, rock, paint, and other abrasives. The cutting, breaking, crushing, drilling, grinding, or abrasive blasting of these materials may produce fine silica dust. It can also be in soil, mortar, plaster, and shingles. The very small pieces of silica dust get in the air that you breathe and become trapped in your lungs. Even the very small pieces of dust that you cannot see will harm you. As the dust builds up in your lungs, the lungs are damaged and it becomes harder to breathe.

The publication Silicosis: Learn the Facts! Do you work in construction or do abrasive blasting? is available on

or available in English or Spanish from NIOSH Publications Dissemination, 4676 Columbia Highway, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998, USA | Tel: 1-513-533-8573 | Fax-on-demand 1-888-232-3299

Other information on silica is available on

Ultrafine aerosols at the workplace - a new report of the BG-Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz, BGIA)

Ultrafine Aerosols at workplaces and their health effects on humans are the topics of a new report edited by the BG-Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BGIA) in Germany. It is now available at The report focuses on the toxicology of ultrafine particles, on epidemiologic studies related to this subject, the physics of these particles and appropriate measurement methods, the occurrence of ultrafine particles at industrial workplaces, and considerations for exposure limit values.

Results of a workshop bringing together experts from Germany, Finland, Austria, Switzerland and the US held in August 2002 are presented here in an updated version considering current findings. Ultrafine particles, also well-known as nanoparticles, are a new and promising area of technological research, development and applications.

When compared to the materials they are generated of, the optical, electrical, mechanical, and chemical properties of nanoparticles are different, which is made use of in nanotechnology. Ultrafine particles are also present in daily life and at conventional workplaces. Studies in animals especially have given rise to indications for inflammatory reactions of the lungs and lung tumours being possibly induced by nanoparticles. Presently, there are only hypotheses existing on the effect mechanisms, but no proven evidence yet.

If you have further questions, please contact: Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz (BGIA) Central division Ina Neitzner | Tel: +49 2241 231-2721 | Fax: +49 2241 231-2234 | Email:

Safety and Health at Work - ILO/CIS Bulletin

The International Labour Office Health and Safety Information Centres "Safety and Health at Work - ILO/CIS Bulletin", which has been published for over 30 years (17 years in its present format), will stop publication with the present issue. ILO/CIS think that it has served its reading public well, but changing times require changing information resources. CIS HQ say:

"Given the overhead involved in publishing a paper bulletin - overhead in cost, in time and in effort - and the constant reduction in resources that we have experienced in recent years, we cannot ensure the regular and timely appearance that subscribers have a right to expect. We also think that most members of our primary audience - the world's OSH professionals - have access to the Internet, so it would be a far better use of our resources to do the best we can to keep the CISDOC database up-to-date and as complete as possible. CISDOC, with its almost 65,000 records, is of course the OSH bibliographic database that the CIS Bulletin has been based on, and CISDOC will survive and prosper with its brand-new Internet interface. The URL of this interface is:

Although we are dropping our periodical publication, we plan to continue issuing topical bibliographies and other OSH-related documents from time to time. We invite our network of National and Collaborating Centres, as well as other interested OSH professionals, to indicate to us their needs as far as printed documentation of the international literature is concerned."

CIS HQ, Geneva, Switzerland

OSH UPDATE: New Internet-based service is available and already being used worldwide
Why not try this new service today?

Want to keep up-to-date in worldwide occupational health, safety, hygiene, road safety, water safety, environment trends and the latest information? Do budget constraints not allow you to buy all the journals, newsletters and documents that contain the latest information? Can't afford the time to search for the latest information, legislation and standards? No staff to search for this information? And no time yourself to spend hours searching for information?

Then a new, very affordable Internet based service OSH UPDATE, from Sheila Pantry Associates Ltd is the answer for you.

Powered by Head Software International's Headfast/Discovery Internet publishing software*, OSH UPDATE will be launched in the Autumn 2004 and updated monthly. It contains a number of bibliographic databases from worldwide authoritative sources such as the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the UK Health and Safety Executive's HSELINE, US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Canada Ryerson University RILOSH, the International Labour Office CIS Health and Safety Centre CISDOC, European Union legislation and other legislation sources and OSH standards specifications including those from the British Standards Institution plus International Labour Office Conventions, Protocols and Recommendations.

OSH UPDATE records will have links to the full text where possible.

OSH UPDATE will expand - we are continuing to make agreements with other well-known information producers around the world and these databases will also be included. As well as the latest information many reference sources go back 80 or more years and so a valuable tool for researchers.

This new aggregation of databases will contain thousands of relevant references with abstracts or keywords and will keep you and your colleagues alerted to hot topics such as the health risks of nanotechnology, corporate killing and corporate social responsibility, bioterrorism, management of road risks, preparedness and business continuity.

The Annual subscription price for a single user via the Internet will be GBP250.00 / US$ 450.00 per year - less than 68 pence / 1.2 dollars per day.

The price reflects our aim to bring health and safety guidance, advice, research, journal articles, papers, standards to the attention of health and safety practitioners and managers, researchers, trade union safety representatives, occupational physicians, information specialists in industry, colleges and universities, government staff, inspectors, university and college safety directors, university and college lecturers and those in training - at a cost that is affordable and a service that is time efficient.

If you are interested in taking up this service on trial please complete the OSH UPDATE Interest Form, or contact us to ask further questions


* Headfast/Discovery is being used for important bibliographic and full text information services on the Internet by other publishers including CERAM Research, Ellis Publications, Inspec, Nielsen BookData, Oxmill Publishing and TWI.

European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2004: report on Building in Safety - prevention of risks in construction in practice

Throughout Europe there is a growing recognition that standards of occupational safety and health in construction have to be improved. Each year in the original 15 Member States alone,, 1300 workers are killed and another 80,000 injured and countless more suffer ill health.

Accidents and ill health have a huge financial cost.

This report is the result of the activities during 2004 this 63 page report gives practical solutions - good practice systems for construction, products for good practice in construction, good practice on construction projects and good practices within enterprises.

The Annexes gives sources of further information and an overview of practical examples.

Copies European Week for Safety and Health at Work 2004: report on Building in Safety - prevention of risks in construction in practice are available from:
The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, Gran Via, 33-E48009, Bilbao, Spain | Tel: +34 944 794 360 | Fax: +34 944 794 383 | Email: |

Nanoparticles: an occupational hygiene review

Nanoparticles are the end products of a wide variety of physical, chemical and biological processes, some of which are new and radically different, others of which are quite commonplace.

This report from the UK Health and Safety Laboratories reviews processes for the deliberate development and manufacture of nanoparticles products and has considered sources and routes of exposure, levels of exposure, numbers exposed, knowledge gaps and future trends.

It also states that current knowledge is insufficient for risk assessment purposes. There is little evidence to suggest that worker exposure arising from the production of nanoparticles has been adequately assessed.

Nanoparticles: an occupational hygiene review RR274 ISBN 07176 2908 2 priced GBP20.00 is available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 2WA | Tel: +44 (0) 1787 88 11 65

It is also available for download from

This an other research reports are also available via