The latest medical research on Occupational & Environmental Medicine

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about occupational & environmental medicine gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Long-term exposure to ambient fine particulate matter and liver enzymes in adults: a cross-sectional study in Taiwan.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Animal experiments indicate that exposure to particulate matter (PM) can induce hepatotoxic effects but epidemiological evidence is scarce. We aimed to investigate the associations between long-term exposure to PM air pollution and liver enzymes, which are biomarkers widely used for liver function assessment.

A cross-sectional analysis was performed among 351 852 adult participants (mean age: 40.1 years) who participated in a standard medical screening programme in Taiwan. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT) levels were measured. A satellite-based spatio-temporal model was used to estimate the concentrations of ambient fine particles (PM with an aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 µm, PM2.5) at each participant's address. Linear and logistic regression models were used to investigate the associations between PM2.5 and the liver enzymes with adjustment for a wide range of potential confounders.

After adjustment for confounders, every 10 µg/m3 increment in 2-year average PM2.5 concentration was associated with 0.02%(95% CI: -0.04% to 0.08%), 0.61% (95% CI: 0.51% to 0.70%) and 1.60% (95% CI: 1.50% to 1.70%) increases in AST, ALT and GGT levels, respectively. Consistently, the odds ratios of having elevated liver enzymes (>40 IU/L) per 10 µg/m3 PM2.5 increment were 1.06 (95% CI: 1.04 to 1.09), 1.09 (95% CI: 1.07 to 1.10) and 1.09 (95% CI: 1.07 to 1.11) for AST, ALT and GGT, respectively.

Long-term exposure to PM2.5 was associated with increased levels of liver enzymes, especially ALT and GGT. More studies are needed to confirm our findings and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.

Proposed Key Characteristics of Male Reproductive Toxicants as an Approach for Organizing and Evaluating Mechanistic Evidence in Human Health Hazard Assessments.

Environmental Health Perspectives

Assessing chemicals for their potential to cause male reproductive toxicity involves the evaluation of evidence obtained from experimental, epidemiological, and mechanistic studies. Although mechanistic evidence plays an important role in hazard identification and evidence integration, the process of identifying, screening and analyzing mechanistic studies and outcomes is a challenging exercise due to the diversity of research models and methods and the variety of known and proposed pathways for chemical-induced toxicity. Ten key characteristics of carcinogens provide a valuable tool for organizing and assessing chemical-specific data by potential mechanisms for cancer-causing agents. However, such an approach has not yet been developed for noncancer adverse outcomes.

The objective in this study was to identify a set of key characteristics that are frequently exhibited by exogenous agents that cause male reproductive toxicity and that could be applied for identifying, organizing, and summarizing mechanistic evidence related to this outcome.

The identification of eight key characteristics of male reproductive toxicants was based on a survey of known male reproductive toxicants and established mechanisms and pathways of toxicity. The eight key characteristics can provide a basis for the systematic, transparent, and objective organization of mechanistic evidence relevant to chemical-induced effects on the male reproductive system. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP5045.

Comparison of Bisphenol A and Bisphenol S Percutaneous Absorption and Biotransformation.

Environmental Health Perspectives

Bisphenol S (BPS) has been widely substituted for bisphenol A (BPA) on thermal papers, but little is known about its skin absorption.

We compared the percutaneous absorption and biotransformation of BPS and BPA in vitro and in a controlled human trial.

Absorption and biotransformation of BPS and BPA were monitored across reconstructed human epidermis at two environmentally relevant doses over 25 h. In the human trial, five male participants handled thermal receipts containing BPS and washed their hands after 2 h. Urine (0-48 h) and serum (0-7.5h) were analyzed for target bisphenols, and one participant repeated the experiment with extended monitoring. BPS data were compared with published data for isotope-labeled BPA ([Formula: see text]) in the same participants.

At doses of 1.5 and [Formula: see text] applied to reconstructed human epidermis, the permeability coefficient of BPS (0.009 and [Formula: see text], respectively) was significantly lower than for BPA (0.036 and [Formula: see text], respectively), and metabolism of both bisphenols was negligible. In participants handling thermal receipts, the quantities of BPS and [Formula: see text] on hands was significantly correlated with maximum urinary event flux ([Formula: see text]), but the slope was lower for BPS than BPA ([Formula: see text] and 1.1, respectively). As a proportion of total urinary bisphenol, free BPS [[Formula: see text]: [Formula: see text]] was higher than for free BPA ([Formula: see text]). Postexposure maximum urinary BPS concentrations (0.93 to [Formula: see text]; [Formula: see text]) were in the 93-98th percentile range of BPS in background Canadians ([Formula: see text]; [Formula: see text]).

Both the in vitro and human studies suggested lower percutaneous absorption of BPS compared with BPA, but a lower biotransformation efficiency of BPS should also be considered in its evaluation as a BPA substitute. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP5044.

Movements of the wrist and the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome: a nationwide cohort study using objective exposure measurements.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

We conducted a large cohort study to investigate the association between work-related wrist movements and carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Electro-goniometric measurements of wrist movements were performed for 30 jobs (eg, office work, child care, laundry work and slaughterhouse work). We measured wrist angular velocity, mean power frequency (MPF) and range of motion (ROM). We established a cohort of Danish citizens born 1940-1979 who held one of these jobs from age 18-80 years, using Danish national registers with annual employment information from 1992 to 2014. We updated the cohort by calendar year with job-specific and sex-specific means of measured exposures. Dates of a first diagnosis or operation because of CTS were retrieved from the Danish National Patient Register. The risk of CTS by quintiles of preceding exposure levels was assessed by adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRadj) using Poisson regression models.

We found a clear exposure-response association between wrist angular velocity and CTS with an IRRadj of 2.31 (95% CI 2.09 to 2.56) when exposed to the highest level compared with the lowest. MPF also showed an exposure-response pattern, although less clear, with an IRRadj of 1.83 (1.68 to 1.98) for the highest compared with the lowest exposure level. ROM showed no clear pattern. Exposure-response patterns were different for men and women.

High levels of wrist movement were associated with an increased risk of CTS. Preventive strategies should be aimed at jobs with high levels of wrist movements such as cleaning, laundry work and slaughterhouse work.

Home care aides' experiences of verbal abuse: a survey of characteristics and risk factors.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Violence from care recipients and family members, including both verbal and physical abuse, is a serious occupational hazard for healthcare and social assistance workers. Most workplace violence studies in this sector focus on hospitals and other institutional settings. This study examined verbal abuse in a large home care (HC) aide population and evaluated risk factors.

We used questionnaire survey data collected as part of a larger mixed methods study of a range of working conditions among HC aides. This paper focuses on survey responses of HC aides (n=954) who reported on verbal abuse from non-family clients and their family members. Risk factors were identified in univariate and multivariable analyses.

Twenty-two per cent (n=206) of aides reported at least one incident of verbal abuse in the 12 months before the survey. Three factors were found to be important in multivariable models: clients with dementia (relative risk (RR) 1.38, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.78), homes with too little space for the aide to work (RR 1.52, 95% CI 1.17 to 1.97) and predictable work hours (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.94); two additional factors were associated with verbal abuse, although not as strongly: having clients with limited mobility (RR 1.35, 95% CI 0.94 to 1.93) and an unclear plan for care delivery (RR 1.27, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.69). Aides reporting verbal abuse were 11 times as likely to also report physical abuse (RR 11.53; 95% CI 6.84 to 19.45).

Verbal abuse is common among HC aides. These findings suggest specific changes in work organisation and training that may help reduce verbal abuse.

Effectiveness of occupational e-mental health interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment

Objective This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated the effectiveness of occupational e-mental health interventions aimed at stress, de...

A scoping review and systematic mapping of health promotion interventions associated with obesity in Islamic religious settings in the UK.

Obesity Reviews

Islamic religious settings (IRS) may be useful places to implement obesity interventions for Muslims. However, little is known about the level and ...

Smoke-free legislation and neonatal and infant mortality in Brazil: longitudinal quasi-experimental study.

Tobacco Control

To examine the associations of partial and comprehensive smoke-free legislation with neonatal and infant mortality in Brazil using a quasi-experimental study design.

Infant and neonatal mortality.

Implementation of partial smoke-free legislation was associated with a -3.3 % (95% CI -6.2% to -0.4%) step reduction in the municipal infant mortality rate, but no step change in neonatal mortality. Comprehensive smoke-free legislation implementation was associated with -5.2 % (95% CI -8.3% to -2.1%) and -3.4 % (95% CI -6.7% to -0.1%) step reductions in infant and neonatal mortality, respectively, and a -0.36 (95% CI -0.66 to-0.06) annual decline in the infant mortality rate. We estimated that had all smoke-free legislation introduced since 2004 been comprehensive, an additional 10 091 infant deaths (95% CI 1196 to 21 761) could have been averted.

Strengthening smoke-free legislation in Brazil is associated with improvements in infant health outcomes-particularly under comprehensive legislation. Governments should accelerate implementation of comprehensive smoke-free legislation to protect infant health and achieve the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal three.

The taste of smoke: tobacco industry strategies to prevent the prohibition of additives in tobacco products in Brazil.

Tobacco Control

The tobacco industry (TI) uses several strategies to attract new consumers, including using additives in tobacco products, which makes tobacco especially attractive to youth. Based on scientific evidence and the principles of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA, for the name in Portuguese), published the Collegiate Board Resolution (RDC, for the name in Portuguese) 14/2012 in 2012, prohibiting the addition of substances that enhance the flavour and taste of tobacco products in order to make them more attractive. In response, the TI used various strategies to prevent RDC 14/2012 from entering into force. At the time, the Brazilian additive ban was the most comprehensive in the world as it included a ban on menthol.

This paper analyses the arguments and strategies used by the TI to prevent the implementation of the additives ban.

Review of published articles, reports, legislation and legislative activity, internal TI documents, media stories and other documents to describe TI's reaction to the ban.

The results show that the TI used some well-known strategies to delay or cancel the entering into force of the resolution. For example, the TI attempted political interference, used litigation and commissioned studies with findings that questioned the resolution's rationale. The TI strategies used in Brazil are similar to those used at the global level to oppose other tobacco control measures.

TI successfully delayed the most comprehensive additive ban in the world using its usual tactics, despite the fact that none of the arguments presented by the TI had an acceptable scientific basis or evidence.

Cross-country comparison of cigarette and vaping product marketing exposure and use: findings from 2016 ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey.

Tobacco Control

To compare exposure to and use of certain cigarette and vaping product marketing among adult smokers and vapers in four countries with contrasting regulations-Australia (AU), Canada, England and the USA.

Self-reported exposure to cigarette and vaping product advertising through point-of-sale, websites/social media, emails/texts, as well as exposure to and use of price offers were assessed for country differences using logistic regression models adjusted for multiple covariates.

Reported exposure to cigarette advertising exposure at point-of-sale was higher in the USA (52.1%) than in AU, Canada and England (10.5%-18.5%). Exposure to cigarette advertising on websites/social media and emails/texts was low overall (1.5%-10.4%). Reported exposure to vaping ads at point-of-sale was higher in England (49.3%) and USA (45.9%) than in Canada (32.5%), but vaping ad exposure on websites/social media in Canada (15.1%) was similar with England (18.4%) and the USA (12.1%). Exposure to vaping ads via emails/texts was low overall (3.1%-9.9%). Exposure to, and use of, cigarette price offers was highest in the USA (34.0 % and 17.8 %, respectively), but the use rate among those exposed was highest in AU (64.9%). Exposure to, and use of, price offers for vaping products was higher in the USA (42.3 % and 21.7 %) than in AU, Canada and England (25.9%-31.5 % and 7.4%-10.3 %).

Patterns of cigarette and vaping product marketing exposure generally reflected country-specific policies, except for online vaping ads. Implications for research and policy are discussed.

Strategies and barriers to achieving the goal of Finland's tobacco endgame.

Tobacco Control

Finland boldly legislated the end of tobacco use in its 2010 Tobacco Act, and subsequently expanded the goal in 2016 to eradicate other nicotine-containing products. This study explored stakeholders' perceptions about the strengths, barriers, solutions and rationale for Finland's comprehensive but conventional strategy to achieve its nicotine-free goal.

Study participants were selected based on expertise in policy or practice of tobacco control (n=32). Semi-structured interviews, conducted in 2017 and 2018, covered topics ranging from consensus among stakeholders to Finland's ranking on the 2016 Tobacco Control Scale. The framework method was chosen for analysing interview transcripts.

A perceived strength of Tobacco-Free Finland 2030 was the consensus and cooperation among members of the tobacco control community. The objective of becoming a nicotine- versus smoke-free society had almost unanimous support, challenged by a small minority who argued for greater discussion of harm reduction approaches. The need for maintaining legitimacy and historical successes in tobacco control were reasons for using a conventional strategy. Barriers to achieving the endgame goal included insufficient funding and over-reliance on non-governmental organisations, political/legal constraints, impact of institutional practices on tobacco disparities, ambivalence about the role of mass media and lack of prioritising smoking cessation.

Stakeholders' broad confidence in reaching the goal of Finland's tobacco endgame suggests that future policy initiatives will reflect the current, conventional strategy. If the Finnish government chooses to continue this approach, then it should designate separate funds for Tobacco-Free Finland 2030 and implement structural changes that will facilitate tobacco control initiatives.

Exploiting a low tax system: non-tax-induced cigarette price increases in Taiwan 2011-2016.

Tobacco Control

This study aims to analyse the non-tax-induced price increasing strategies adopted by tobacco industry in Taiwan, a high-income country with comprehensive tobacco control policies but low tobacco taxes and a declining cigarette market.

Using governmental tax, price and inflation data, we analysed cigarette sales volume, affordability, affordability elasticity of demand, market share, pricing and net revenue of the top five tobacco companies in Taiwan from 2011 to 2016 when no tax increases occurred.

Total revenue after tax grew significantly for all the major transnational tobacco companies between 2011 and 2016 at the expense of the state-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation. In terms of market share, Japan Tobacco (JT) was the leading company, despite experiencing a small decline, while British American Tobacco and Imperial Brands remained stable, and Philip Morris International increased from 4.7% to 7.0%. JT adopted the most effective pricing strategy by increasing the real price of its two most popular brands (Mevius and Mi-Ne) and, at the same time, doubling the sales of its cheaper and less popular brand Winston by leaving its nominal retail price unaltered.

Low and unchanged tobacco taxes enable tobacco companies to use aggressive pricing and segmentation strategies to increase the real price of cigarettes without making them less affordable while simultaneously maintaining customers' loyalty. It is crucial to continue monitoring the industry's pricing strategies and to regularly increase taxes to promote public health and to prevent tobacco industry from profiting at the expense of government revenues.