Potentially harmful ‘forever’ chemicals may be present in many industries

Washington — Exposure to cancer-causing per- and polyfluroalkyl substances, or PFAS, is common “across occupations,” according to a recent research review from NIOSH.

After consulting multiple Centers for Disease Control and Prevention databases, NIOSH researchers examined 92 papers related to occupational exposure to PFAS that were published between 1980 and 2021. Analysis shows a wide range of use of PFAS – also known as “forever chemicals” because they break down slowly over time.

Although workers in PFAS-based chemical manufacturing had the highest exposure levels, the risk was also apparent among textile mill workers, metal plating workers, office workers, fishers and barbers.

NIOSH notes that the majority of the papers analyzed measured blood tests for PFAS, with others monitoring exposure levels through air, dust and urine samples.

“This study highlights the importance of measuring exposure to PFAS, including new types, among workers in manufacturing and other work settings,” NIOSH says. “Identifying patterns of work-related exposure is critical to establishing guidelines to protect workers.”

The study was published online in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology.

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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

CPWR report examines causes of death for current, retired and former construction workers

Original article published by Safety+Health

Silver Spring, MD — Of the nearly 225,000 construction worker deaths recorded in 2020, 60% were at least 65 years old, according to a new report from CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training.

Researchers looked at 2020 data from the National Vital Statistics System, which included all causes of death for construction workers – employed, retired or no longer working – from every state except Arizona, North Carolina, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

Findings show that, among the 224,400 deaths, the majority were non-Hispanic (88%), white (87%) and male (96%).

The leading cause of death varied by age group. For workers 16-34, the leading cause was poisoning and exposure to narcotics and hallucinogens (17%). For those 35 and older, COVID-19 was the leading cause, including nearly 15,000 workers 65 or older. Another 8,700 workers at least 65 years old died of heart disease.

“Although CPWR and others have extensively researched fatal occupational injuries, there is limited information on deaths not on the jobsite among construction workers, even though worksite exposures and tasks may result in lifetime health impacts such as cancers,” CPWR says.

The report was published in the January issue of CPWR’s Data Bulletin.

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Not getting enough zzzs may up your risk of developing multiple chronic diseases

Original article published by Safety+Health

Is getting seven hours of sleep something you can only dream of? Results of a recent study suggest that falling two hours short of the recommended limit increases your risk of developing at least two chronic diseases.

Using data from nearly 8,000 British adults between 50 and 70 years old, researchers looked for links between sleep duration, mortality and whether participants had been diagnosed with chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes over 25 years.

Compared with the participants who slept up to seven hours a night, those who slept five hours or less a night at age 50 were 40% more likely to be diagnosed with multiple chronic diseases. They also had a 25% increased risk of mortality over the 25-year follow-up period.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends working-age adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Older adults should get seven to eight hours.

“To ensure a better night’s sleep, it is important to promote good sleep hygiene, such as making the bedroom quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature, before sleeping,” said lead study author Severine Sabia, a researcher at the University College London. “It’s also advised to remove electronic devices and avoid large meals before bedtime. Physical activity and exposure to light during the day might also promote good sleep.”

The study was published online in the journal PLOS Medicine.

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