Lead and its compounds are hazardous chemical agents; some lead compounds, are classified as carcinogens in humans. In Romania, the occupational exposure to inorganic lead and its compounds occurs in many sectors: production of lead, manufacture of batteries, manufacture of thermal ceramic products (terracotta), production of electric and electronic components, manufacture of articles of metal wire, production of dyes and additives for plastics, recovery of lead from waste batteries, waste collection and treatment of electrical and electronic equipment, etc. The binding occupational limit value for inorganic lead compounds established under the national regulations is 0.15 mg/m3 in the air (measured in relation to a reference period of eight hours, time-weighted average, TWA). The binding biological limit value is 70 μg Pb/100 ml blood. We have summarized lead occupational exposure data collected from the regional public health authorities in Romania, for the period 2011-2019. The concentrations of lead recorded in the workplaces air varied between “not detected” and 0.22 mg/m3. The lead concentrations in the blood had high values (over the alert value of 40 μg/100 ml blood) in several activities (production of lead, recovery-recycling of lead from waste batteries, manufacture of batteries, and manufacture of articles of metal wire) leading to the need of continuous surveillance of health status for the exposed workers.
In many large cohort studies, the night shift constitutes a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes in workers. Current screening tests for people working in night shift include fasting glycaemia and electrocardiography. In fact, there are few studies focused on the description of the electrocardiographic changes after the night shift. This article describes the protocol of the “ECG modifications induced by the disturbance of the circadian rhythm in night-shift workers (ECGNoct)” study, which was initiated by the National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Prof. Dr. Matei Balș”. Nurses represent the target population.
The protocol includes a full medical and occupational history, lifestyle habits (smoking, alcohol, nutrition), anthropometric and blood pressure measurements, blood tests (fasting glycemia, total cholesterol, triglycerides and high density lipoprotein cholesterol) and electrocardiogram recording. For nurses working in (night) shifts, we will record the electrocardiogram before and soon after the night shift. A cross sectional study will analyze the incidence of the metabolic syndrome criteria, the cardio-metabolic diseases and the electrocardiographic modifications and will compare the results between the group of nurses working and the group of nurse who do not. Based on these results, a longitudinal study will test the hypothesis that night shift increases the risk for cardio-metabolic diseases and that the electrocardiographic modifications precede the clinical symptoms. The results of the study will provide data on the association of night shifts and other non-occupational risk factors with the cardio-metabolic diseases in this specific population of healthcare workers that potentially will integrate into the occupational medicine policies.
Several occupational carcinogens (arsenic, cadmium) and industries (rubber production) have been associated with prostate cancer risk but most of the data are from studies conducted on screened populations. Here we explored this association in Romanian men, a population with low PSA screening test coverage. We have analyzed 468 prostate cancer cases pathologically confirmed and 495 non-cancer hospital controls, recruited in the ROMCAN project. Personal information, including occupational activity, was collected through interview. Two experts classified jobs and activities into 15 economic sectors with similar patterns of exposure. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between ever employed in each economic sector and prostate cancer risk. We observed a higher non adjusted risk for employment in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply activities (OR=3.95, p=0.029), manufacturing–light industry (OR=1.88, p=0.039), financial, insurance and gambling (OR=1.44, p=0.046) and a lower risk for employment in construction industry (OR=0.62, p=0.010). After adjusting for potential confounders, only the low risk in construction workers was maintained (OR=0.55, p=0.004). Our study provides some evidence on the role of occupational factors on the prostate cancer risk but further assessments are needed. Healthy lifestyle promotion and prevention should be reinforced at workplaces.
Occupational asthma, the most common occupational respiratory disease in industrialized societies, accounts for 5-10% of all cases of asthma diagnosed in the world. The number of cases is increasing given the development of the “consumer society”. We aim to discuss a case of occupational asthma that we have confirmed using internationally validated methods.