Exposure To Solvents A Health Risk PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 June 2011 01:11
taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/ricephotos/438518404/sizes/z/in/photostream/ via creative commonsExposure to solvents by medical laboratory workers may be a health risk according to a new study from the University of Otago, Wellington just published in The Journal of Rheumatology. "Our study of 341 medical laboratory workers indicates they are more likely to develop a condition called Raynaud's phenomenon, if they are exposed to solvents such as toluene or xylene. This raises concerns they could then have further serious health complications later in life," says lead researcher Gordon Purdie.

This is the first ever research to show an occupational health hazard involving solvent use and Raynaud's phenomenon (RP). Other studies overseas have shown similar solvent associations, but not with people exposed to solvents at work.

Raynaud's phenomenon is vasoconstriction, or the narrowing of blood vessels in the hands and other extremities, and is characterized by pain, colour changes and tautness or fullness of the fingers or toes. Raynaud's phenomenon usually only occurs in cold conditions. For some people it may be a symptom or precursor of scleroderma, a rare connective tissue disease affecting multiple systems in the body and mainly amongst women.

The mainly female laboratory workers (79%) who used solvents in this study had higher rates of severe RP. Those who had worked with xylene or toluene doubled their risk of developing severe RP. It appears that lab workers who worked with acetone or chlorinated solvents, combined with xylene or toluene, also doubled their risk of developing RP. Risk of developing severe RP was even greater, in fact nine times.

"I am concerned that 75% of those who worked with xylene or toluene handled wet sample slides without gloves. The majority had done so daily for over a decade," says Purdie. "Absorption through the skin is a classic way for solvents to have a negative impact on health."

Purdie says the study also found no difference in severe RP rates between the general population and those lab workers who had not used solvents in their work.

He says this study highlights the need to minimise exposure and be careful in handling solvents in medical laboratories and other workplaces. Co-author and Senior Lecturer in Rheumatology at the University of Otago, Wellington, Dr Andrew Harrison, says: "This is the first study to demonstrate a link between laboratory worker solvent exposure and symptoms of autoimmune connective tissue disease and has important implications for workplace health and safety."

Dr Harrison recently presented this study at the Australian Rheumatology Association Scientific Meeting in Brisbane.

 
More articles :

» An Approach to the Treatment of Scleroderma

Systemic sclerosis is unique among the rheumatic diseases because it presents the challenge of managing a chronic multisystem autoimmune disease with a widespread obliterative vasculopathy of small arteries that is associated with varying degrees of...

» What's Added to Your Food?

Phil Lempert, These days, people need to follow specific diets for many reasons from chronic conditions to allergies to a simple desire for better health and fitness. That means more and more of us - especially as we get older - want to know exactly...

» Study Suggests Link Between Scleroderma, Cancer in Certain Patients

Patients with a certain type of may get cancer and scleroderma simultaneously, Johns Hopkins researchers have found, suggesting that in some diseases, autoimmunity and cancer may be linked.These findings could lead researchers closer to discovering...

» Rheumatologist Receives Scleroderma Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award

In a recent article, it was reported that ,  Gerald P. Rodnan Professor of Medicine, , received the 's Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his service to the community. The award is the foundation's highest honor and is presented to...

» Crowdsourcing A Cure For Scleroderma

is widely known for medical innovation — from the research laboratory to the patient’s bedside — but in partnership with dedicated donors, the institution is also innovating the way it raises money to accelerate groundbreaking research.With...

» The Healing Power Of Juices

One of the best ways to energize your body and get nutrition in quickly is to juice your fruits and vegetables. For example one pound of carrots produces about eight ounces of juice. Drinking eight ounces of juice is far more easier to consume than...

Comments  

 
+1 #1 adelwyn 2011-07-02 12:49
This is such a shame. Saw a couple comments on your facebook page where many people confirmed this, from their own personal experiences working in health care.
Report to administrator