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Occupational Diseases - Top 30 Publications

Occupational Animal Exposure Among Persons with Campylobacteriosis and Cryptosporidiosis - Nebraska, 2005-2015.

Campylobacter and Cryptosporidium are two common causes of gastroenteritis in the United States. National incidence rates measured for these pathogens in 2015 were 17.7 and 3.0 per 100,000 population, respectively; Nebraska was among the states with the highest incidence for both campylobacteriosis (26.6) and cryptosporidiosis (≥6.01) (1). Although campylobacteriosis and cryptosporidiosis are primarily transmitted via consumption of contaminated food or water, they can also be acquired through contact with live animals or animal products, including through occupational exposure (2). This exposure route is of particular interest in Nebraska, where animal agriculture and associated industries are an important part of the state's economy. To estimate the percentage of disease that might be related to occupational animal exposure in Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) and CDC reviewed deidentified investigation reports from 2005 to 2015 of cases of campylobacteriosis and cryptosporidiosis among Nebraska residents aged ≥14 years. Case investigation notes were searched for evidence of occupational animal exposures, which were classified into discrete categories based on industry, animal/meat, and specific work activity/exposure. Occupational animal exposure was identified in 16.6% of 3,352 campylobacteriosis and 8.7% of 1,070 cryptosporidiosis cases, among which animal production (e.g., farming or ranching) was the most commonly mentioned industry type (68.2% and 78.5%, respectively), followed by employment in animal slaughter and processing facilities (16.3% and 5.4%, respectively). Among animal/meat occupational exposures, cattle/beef was most commonly mentioned, with exposure to feedlots (concentrated animal feeding operations in which animals are fed on stored feeds) reported in 29.9% of campylobacteriosis and 7.9% of cryptosporidiosis cases. Close contact with animals and manure in feedlots and other farm settings might place workers in these areas at increased risk for infection. It is important to educate workers with occupational animal exposure about the symptoms of enteric diseases and prevention measures. Targeting prevention strategies to high-risk workplaces and activities could help reduce disease.

Empathy and burnout of emergency professionals of a health region: A cross-sectional study.

The objective of this study is to assess the association between levels of empathy and burnout of emergency professionals in all the assistance levels.A cross-sectional observational study was conducted in the health region of Lleida and the Pyrenees with 100 professionals from the field of Urgency. Participation reached 40.8%. Empathy and burnout were measured using the Spanish versions of the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSPE) and Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) respectively. The total MBI score and its 3 dimensions (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment) were analyzed. The JSPE and MBI scores were categorized into tertiles that were identified as "low," "moderate," and "high" levels.The median (interquartile range) was 112 (102-123) and 37 (27-53.5) for the JSPE and MBI scores respectively. Professionals with high burnout (MBI≥47) showed the lowest levels of empathy, that is, JSPE score of 105 (98-114); those with moderate burnout (31≤MBI < 47) had a JSPE score of 114 (104.5-120.5); and those with low burnout (MBI < 31) had a JSPE score of 120.5 (105.8-127.2). In addition, the highest levels of empathy were associated with the lowest levels of burnout, especially in depersonalization, and to a lesser extent in personal accomplishment. There were no differences in empathy and burnout for any of the other study variables.Our findings suggest that the empathy of emergency professionals is associated with burnout. Hence, reducing professional burnout could help keep emergency professionals' empathy levels high, which in turn would ensure a better quality of care. Nevertheless, it would be necessary to carry out prospective studies to describe the profiles of burnout and empathy as well as their association and evolution.

Effort-Reward Imbalance and Burnout Among ICU Nursing Staff: A Cross-Sectional Study.

Occupational stress is commonly observed among staff in intensive care units (ICUs). Sociodemographic, organizational, and job-related factors may lead to burnout among ICU health workers. In addition, these factors could modify the balance between efforts done and rewards perceived by workers; consequently, this imbalance could increase levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and decrease a sense of personal accomplishment.

Physician Burnout.

Computer-based versus in-person interventions for preventing and reducing stress in workers.

Chronic exposure to stress has been linked to several negative physiological and psychological health outcomes. Among employees, stress and its associated effects can also result in productivity losses and higher healthcare costs. In-person (face-to-face) and computer-based (web- and mobile-based) stress management interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing stress in employees compared to no intervention. However, it is unclear if one form of intervention delivery is more effective than the other. It is conceivable that computer-based interventions are more accessible, convenient, and cost-effective.

Nurses' Burnout: The Influence of Leader Empowering Behaviors, Work Conditions, and Demographic Traits.

Nurse burnout is a widespread phenomenon characterized by a reduction in nurses' energy that manifests in emotional exhaustion, lack of motivation, and feelings of frustration and may lead to reductions in work efficacy. This study was conducted to assess the level of burnout among Jordanian nurses and to investigate the influence of leader empowering behaviors (LEBs) on nurses' feelings of burnout in an endeavor to improve nursing work outcomes. A cross-sectional and correlational design was used. Leader Empowering Behaviors Scale and the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) were employed to collect data from 407 registered nurses, recruited from 11 hospitals in Jordan. The Jordanian nurses exhibited high levels of burnout as demonstrated by their high scores for Emotional Exhaustion (EE) and Depersonalization (DP) and moderate scores for Personal Accomplishment (PA). Factors related to work conditions, nurses' demographic traits, and LEBs were significantly correlated with the burnout categories. A stepwise regression model-exposed 4 factors predicted EE: hospital type, nurses' work shift, providing autonomy, and fostering participation in decision making. Gender, fostering participation in decision making, and department type were responsible for 5.9% of the DP variance, whereas facilitating goal attainment and nursing experience accounted for 8.3% of the PA variance. This study highlights the importance of the role of nurse leaders in improving work conditions and empowering and motivating nurses to decrease nurses' feelings of burnout, reduce turnover rates, and improve the quality of nursing care.

Total and Cause-Specific Mortality Risk Associated With Low-Level Exposure to Crystalline Silica: A 44-Year Cohort Study From China.

The association between low-level crystalline silica (silica) exposure and mortality risk is not well understood. We investigated a cohort of 44,807 Chinese workers who had worked in metal mines or pottery factories for at least 1 year from January 1, 1960, to December 31, 1974, and were followed through 2003. Low-level silica exposure was defined as having a lifetime highest annual mean silica exposure at or under a permissible exposure limit (PEL). We considered 3 widely used PELs, including 0.05 mg/m3, 0.10 mg/m3, and 0.35 mg/m3. Cumulative silica exposure was estimated by linking a job exposure matrix with each participant's work history. For the 0.10-mg/m3 exposure level, Cox proportional hazards models showed significantly increased risk of mortality from all diseases (for each 1-ln mg/m3-years increase in logged cumulative silica exposure, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.05, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03, 1.07), malignant neoplasms (HR = 1.06, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.09), lung cancer (HR = 1.08, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.14), ischemic heart disease (HR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.16), pulmonary heart disease (HR = 1.08, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.16), and respiratory disease (HR = 1.20, 95% CI: 1.14, 1.26). The 0.05-mg/m3 and 0.35-mg/m3 exposure levels yielded similar associations. Long-term exposure to low levels (PELs ≤0.05 mg/m3, ≤0.10 mg/m3, or ≤0.35 mg/m3) of silica is associated with increased total and certain cause-specific mortality risk. Control of ambient silica levels and use of personal protective equipment should be emphasized in practice.

Occupational Distribution of Campylobacteriosis and Salmonellosis Cases - Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia, 2014.

Campylobacter and Salmonella are leading causes of bacterial gastroenteritis in the United States and are estimated to cause >1 million episodes of domestically acquired illness annually (1). Campylobacter and Salmonella are primarily transmitted through contaminated food, but animal-to-human and human-to-human transmission can also occur (2,3). Although occupationally acquired infections have been reported, occupational risk factors have rarely been studied. In 2015, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identified 63 suspected or confirmed cases of Campylobacter infection over 3.5 years at a poultry-processing plant (Kathleen Fagan, OSHA, personal communication, December 2015); most involved new workers handling chickens in the "live hang" area where bacterial contamination is likely to be the highest. These findings were similar to those of a previous study of Campylobacter infections among workers at another poultry-processing plant (4). The investigation led to discussions among OSHA, state health departments, and CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); and a surveillance study was initiated to further explore the disease incidence in poultry-processing plant workers and identify any additional occupations at increased risk for common enteric infections. Deidentified reports of campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis among Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia residents aged ≥16 years were obtained and reviewed. Each employed patient was classified into one of 23 major occupational groups using the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system.* Risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for associations between each occupational group and each disease were calculated to identify occupations potentially at increased risk, contrasting each group with all other occupations. In 2014, a total of 2,977 campylobacteriosis and 2,259 salmonellosis cases were reported. Among the 1,772 (60%) campylobacteriosis and 1,516 (67%) salmonellosis cases in patients for whom occupational information was available, 1,064 (60%) and 847 (56%), respectively, were employed. Persons in farming, fishing, and forestry as well as health care and technical occupations were at significantly increased risk for both campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis compared with all other occupations. Targeting education and prevention strategies could help reduce disease, and improving the systematic collection of occupational information in disease surveillance systems could provide a better understanding of the extent of occupationally acquired diseases.

In Pursuit of the Fourth Aim in Health Care: The Joy of Practice.

In today's health care system where there are increased demands for health care provider productivity, increased pay for performance metrics, decreased reimbursements, and ever-increasing demands of electronic medical records, providers are at risk for high rates of burnout. Indeed, recent studies have indicated that more than 50% of US physicians are now experiencing burnout and that burnout is rising dramatically faster among physicians than in any other US professional field. These high rates of burnout have many downstream consequences, for both the providers and for the patients they serve.

Childhood adversity, adult socioeconomic status and risk of work disability: a prospective cohort study.

To examine the combined effects of childhood adversities and low adult socioeconomic status (SES) on the risk of future work disability.

Biomass smoke exposure as an occupational risk: cross-sectional study of respiratory health of women working as street cooks in Nigeria.

Little is known about respiratory health of women who are occupationally exposed to biomass smoke outside their homes. This study reports the exposure and respiratory health of street cooks in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.

Riding (High) into the danger zone: a review of potential differences in chemical exposures in fighter pilots resulting from high altitude and G-forces.

When in flight, pilots of high performance aircraft experience conditions unique to their profession. Training flights, performed as often as several times a week, can expose these pilots to altitudes in excess of 15 km (~50,000 ft, with a cabin pressurized to an altitude of ~20,000 ft), and the maneuvers performed in flight can exacerbate the G-forces felt by the pilot. While the pilots specifically train to withstand these extreme conditions, the physiologic stress could very likely lead to differences in the disposition of chemicals in the body, and consequently, dangerously high exposures. Unfortunately, very little is known about how the conditions experienced by fighter pilots affects chemical disposition. Areas covered: The purpose of this review is to present information about the effects of high altitude, G-forces, and other conditions experienced by fighter pilots on chemical disposition. Using this information, the expected changes in chemical exposure will be discussed, using isopropyl alcohol as an example. Expert opinion: There is a severe lack of information concerning the effects of the fighter pilot environment on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of chemicals. Given the possibility of exposure prior to or during flight, it is important that these potential effects be investigated further.

Work-related risk factors for specific shoulder disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to examine which work-related risk factors are associated with specific soft tissue shoulder disorders. We searched the electronic databases of Medline and Embase for articles published between 2009 and 24 March 2016 and included the references of a systematic review performed for the period before 2009. Primary cross-sectional and longitudinal studies were included when outcome data were described in terms of clinically assessed soft tissue shoulder disorders and at least two levels of work-related exposure were mentioned (exposed vs less or non-exposed). Two authors independently selected studies, extracted data and assessed study quality. For longitudinal studies, we performed meta-analyses and used GRADE (Grades of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) to assess the evidence for the associations between risk factors and the onset of shoulder disorders. Twenty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria. In total, 16 300 patients with specific soft tissue shoulder disorders from a population of 2 413 722 workers from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany and Poland were included in the meta-analysis of one case-control and six prospective cohort studies. This meta-analysis revealed moderate evidence for associations between shoulder disorders and arm-hand elevation (OR=1.9, 95% CI 1.47 to 2.47) and shoulder load (OR=2.0, 95% CI 1.90 to 2.10) and low to very low evidence for hand force exertion (OR=1.5, 95% CI 1.25 to 1.87), hand-arm vibration (OR=1.3, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.77), psychosocial job demands (OR=1.1, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.25) and working together with temporary workers (OR=2.2, 95% CI 1.2 to 4.2). Low-quality evidence for no associations was found for arm repetition, social support, decision latitude, job control and job security. Moderate evidence was found that arm-hand elevation and shoulder load double the risk of specific shoulder disorders. Low to very-low-quality evidence was found for an association between hand force exertion, hand-arm vibration, psychosocial job demands and working together with temporary workers and the incidence of specific shoulder disorders.

Insufficient free-time physical activity and occupational factors in Brazilian public school teachers.

To evaluate if perceived occupational factors are associated with insufficient free-time physical activity in Brazilian public school teachers.

Occupational risk factors among Iranian farmworkers: a review of the available evidence.

Farming is one of the most important components of most economies. No comprehensive picture exists of the health status of Iranian farmers and the work-related hazards that affect them. We aimed to determine the gaps in the current knowledge regarding the occupational health of Iranian farmworkers. Electronic databases including Medline, Web of Science, Scopus, and Embase, as well as national databases including the Scientific Information Database, MagIran, and Barakat Knowledge System, were searched for articles published through March 2017. All epidemiologic studies regarding the occupational health of farmworkers in Iran were reviewed, regardless of their design, language, time of publication, and location. Of the 86 retrieved articles, 39 studies were ultimately analyzed. Most studies were conducted in Fars, Kerman, and Mazandaran provinces. According to the results of this review, chemical, physical, and biological hazards, along with work-related injuries, may be the main factors threatening the health of farmworkers. The unsafe use of pesticides was related to male infertility, eye and digestive complications, pesticide poisoning, pesticide absorption, hematological changes, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Chemical hazards (e.g., the unsafe use of pesticides), physical hazards, injuries, and biological hazards (e.g., work-related infectious diseases) threaten the health of Iranian farmworkers. Moreover, farmworkers lack adequate knowledge about the occupational hazards they face and the relevant risk factors.

Surveillance for Silicosis Deaths Among Persons Aged 15-44 Years - United States, 1999-2015.

Silicosis is usually a disease of long latency affecting mostly older workers; therefore, silicosis deaths in young adults (aged 15-44 years) suggests acute or accelerated disease.* To understand the circumstances surrounding silicosis deaths among young persons, CDC analyzed the underlying and contributing causes(†) of death using multiple cause-of-death data (1999-2015) and industry and occupation information abstracted from death certificates (1999-2013). During 1999-2015, among 55 pneumoconiosis deaths of young adults with International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code J62 (pneumoconiosis due to dust containing silica),(§) 38 (69%) had code J62.8 (pneumoconiosis due to other dust containing silica), and 17 (31%) had code J62.0 (pneumoconiosis due to talc dust) listed on their death certificate. Decedents whose cause of death code was J62.8 most frequently worked in the manufacturing and construction industries and production occupations where silica exposure is known to occur. Among the 17 decedents who had death certificates listing code J62.0 as cause of death, 13 had certificates with an underlying or a contributing cause of death code listed that indicated multiple drug use or drug overdose. In addition, 13 of the 17 death certificates listing code J62.0 as cause of death had information on decedent's industry and occupation; among the 13 decedents, none worked in talc exposure-associated jobs, suggesting that their talc exposure was nonoccupational. Examining detailed information on causes of death (including external causes) and industry and occupation of decedents is essential for identifying silicosis deaths associated with occupational exposures and reducing misclassification of silicosis mortality.

Decreasing Stress and Burnout in Nurses: Efficacy of Blended Learning With Stress Management and Resilience Training Program.

The study's purpose was to assess efficacy of blended learning to decrease stress and burnout among nurses through use of the Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) program.

Burnout in Orthopaedic Surgeons: A Challenge for Leaders, Learners, and Colleagues: AOA Critical Issues.

Burnout, depression, suicidal ideation, and dissatisfaction with work-life balance have been reported in all medical specialties and at all stages of medical education and practice experience. Burnout consists of progressive emotional, attitudinal, and physical exhaustion. Physicians with burnout may treat patients as objects and feel emotionally depleted. Burnout is characterized by a loss of enthusiasm for work (emotional exhaustion), feelings of cynicism (depersonalization), and a low sense of personal accomplishment. The most complete study of emotional burnout among different medical specialties demonstrated that orthopaedic surgery is one of the specialties with the highest burnout rate. Qualitative descriptive studies are available. There was a 45.8% burnout rate among physicians in the U.S. in 2012, and a 2014 update suggested even higher rates. Burnout has a correlation with medical education. Burnout rates are similar to those in the general population when medical students enter school, and increase steadily through medical education prior to residency. Burnout rates in residents are high, reported to be between 41% and 74% across multiple specialties. This impacts our young physician workforce in orthopaedics. The purpose of this review is to provide the available information that characterizes burnout and addresses the issues inherent to preventing burnout, and to build awareness in orthopaedic surgeons. Wellness "goes beyond merely the absence of distress and includes being challenged, thriving, and achieving success in various aspects of personal and professional life." The challenge for the orthopaedic community is to develop interventions and strategies that are personalized to the individuals in this specialty.

Professional burnout syndrome in doctors of surgical specialties in Ukraine: causes, consequences, labor optimization ways.

The professional burnout syndrome (PBS) affects quality of medical care provision for people, which is acquires the special actuality in terms of reforming the health care system.

Protection during production: Problems due to prevention? Nail and skin condition after prolonged wearing of occlusive gloves.

Wearing of occlusive gloves during the whole working shift is considered a risk factor for developing hand eczema, similar to wet work. Moreover, the increased hydration due to glove occlusion may lead to brittle nails. Two hundred and seventy clean room workers, wearing occlusive gloves for prolonged periods, and 135 administrative employees not using gloves were investigated. This included a dermatological examination of the nails and the hands, using the Hand Eczema ScoRe for Occupational Screening (HEROS), measurement of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), and a standardized interview. Of the clean room workers, 39%, mainly women, reported nail problems, mostly brittle nails with onychoschisis. Skin score values showed no significant differences between HEROS values of both groups. TEWL values of exposed subjects were similar to TEWL values of controls 40 min after taking off the occlusive gloves. In a multiple linear regression analysis, male gender and duration of employment in the clean room were associated with a significant increase in TEWL values. The effect of occlusion on TEWL seems to be predominantly transient and not be indicative of a damaged skin barrier. This study confirmed the results of a previous investigation showing no serious adverse effect of wearing of occlusive gloves on skin condition without exposure to additional hazardous substances. However, occlusion leads to softened nails prone to mechanical injury. Therefore, specific prevention instructions are required to pay attention to this side effect of occlusion.

Urinary bladder cancer risk factors in an area of former coal, iron, and steel industries in Germany.

This study was performed to investigate the frequency of bladder cancer in patients with an occupational history such as underground hard coal mining and/or painting after the structural change in the local industry. A total of 206 patients with bladder cancer and 207 controls were enlisted regarding occupational and nonoccupational bladder cancer risk factors by questionnaire. The phase II enzymes N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2), glutathione S-transferases M1 (GSTM1), and T1 (GSTT1) and the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs11892031[A/C] reported to be associated with bladder cancer in genome-wide association studies were genotyped. The bladder cancer risk in varnishers and underground hard coal miners was increased as previously shown in a study in this area performed in the 1980s. The occupation of a car mechanic was associated with a significantly elevated bladder cancer risk and higher in the case of underground hard coal miners even though the mine was closed in 1987. The frequency of GSTM1 negative genotype was comparable in cases and controls (53% versus 54%). In the case of NAT2, the slow NAT2 genotype was more frequent (62% versus 58%) and ultra-slow NAT2 genotype (NAT2*6A and/or *7B alleles only) was 23% versus 15%. An occupational history of a varnisher or an underground hard coal miner remains a risk factor for bladder cancer occurrence. Data indicate that in the case of bladder cancer, GSTM1 is a susceptibility factor related to environmental and/or occupational exposure.

Occupational bladder cancer: Polymorphisms of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes, exposures, and prognosis.

Approximately 7% of all bladder cancer cases in males are associated with occupation. The question arises whether the use of genome-wide association studies was able to identify bladder cancer risk factors that may modulate occupational bladder cancer risk and prognosis. One hundred and forty-three bladder cancer cases with suspected occupational bladder cancer and 337 controls were genotyped for the following polymorphisms: N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2), glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1), glutathione S-transferase T1 (GSTT1), UDP-glucuronyltransferase 1A rs11892031 (UGT1A), rs9642880 (close to c-MYC), and rs710521 (close to TP63). The most relevant polymorphisms for occupational bladder cancer risk were GSTM1 and UGT1A, especially when co-occurring (GSTM1 negative and rs11892031[A/A]: 48% cases vs. 38% controls, OR 1.47, 95% CI 0.99-2.20). The effect was more pronounced in smokers. GSTM1 negative genotype occurred more frequently in cancer cases exposed to aromatic amines, carbolineum, and in painters and varnishers. UGT1A (rs11892031[A/A]) was found frequently in cases exposed to carbolineum, crack test spray, PAH, and in painters and varnishers. All investigated polymorphisms except rs710521 (TP63) seemed to exert an impact on recurrence risk. Relapse-free times were shorter for NAT2 slow and ultra-slow, GSTT1 positive and GSTM1 negative cases. Occupational bladder cancer cases with a number of risk variants displayed significantly shorter relapse-free times compared to cases with few, less relevant risk alleles as evidenced by median difference 8 months. In conclusion, in the present, suspected occupational bladder cancer cases phase II polymorphisms involved in bladder carcinogen metabolism modulate bladder cancer recurrence. Most relevant for bladder cancer risk were GSTM1 and UGT1A but not NAT2.

Interventions to prevent occupational noise-induced hearing loss.

This is the second update of a Cochrane Review originally published in 2009. Millions of workers worldwide are exposed to noise levels that increase their risk of hearing disorders. There is uncertainty about the effectiveness of hearing loss prevention interventions.

Burnout: A Clinical and Sociological Reflection.

Working hours associated with unintentional sleep at work among airline pilots.

Tto identify factors associated with unintentional sleep at work of airline pilots.

Burnout, career satisfaction, and well-being among US neurology residents and fellows in 2016.

To study prevalence of and factors contributing to burnout, career satisfaction, and well-being in US neurology residents and fellows.

Validation of automated detection of physical and mental stress during work in a Hühnermobil 225.

<b>Introduction.</b> The effects of the use of mobile henhouses and their equipment on the physical and mental stress of farmers in the organic egg production, and the reliability of the sensor-based detection of these in work processes are insufficiently known. There are neither measurement results nor key figures, according to operation and gender especially, available in the literature. <b>Objective.</b> The aim of this case study is to quantify the physical and mental stress of work processes on the basis of heart rate and the Baevsky Stress Index, as measured by the ECG- and activity sensor Movisens®, which is used mainly in the sports and rehabilitation sectors. To analyse the impact, daily routine work was divided into operations and the data collected for this purpose analysed descriptively and analytically. <b>Conclusions.</b> In summary, it can be concluded that measurement technology has the potential to capture the activity-related exceedances of the endurance limit of the work severity by means of the heart rate reliably, to identify risk areas of employment and to quantify stress situations. The accuracy and reliability of data acquisition with Movisens® should be validated by a larger sample size and further measurements. In particular, the algorithm for calculating the data to quantify the mental and physical stress without movement needs to be improved significantly through further development.

The history of arsenical pesticides and health risks related to the use of Agent Blue.

Arsenicals in agriculture. Beginning in the 1970s, the use of arsenic compounds for such purposes as wood preservatives, began to grow. By 1980, in the USA, 70% of arsenic had been consumed for the production of wood preservatives. This practice was later stopped, due to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ban of the arsenic-and chromium-based wood preservative chromated copper arsenate. In the past, arsenical herbicides containing cacodylic acid as an active ingredient have been used extensively in the USA, from golf courses to cotton fields, and drying-out the plants before harvesting. The original commercial form of Agent Blue was among 10 toxic insecticides, fungicides and herbicides partially deregulated by the US EPA in February 2004, and specific limits on toxic residues in meat, milk, poultry and eggs, were removed. Today, however, they are no longer used as weed-killers, with one exception - monosodium methanearsonate (MSMA), a broadleaf weed herbicide for use on cotton. Severe poisonings from cacodylic acid caused headache, dizziness, vomiting, profuse and watery diarrhea, followed by dehydration, gradual fall in blood pressure, stupor, convulsions, general paralysis and possible risk of death within 3-14 days.The relatively frequent use of arsenic and its compounds in both industry and agriculture points to a wide spectrum of opportunities for human exposure. This exposure can be via inhalation of airborne arsenic, contaminated drinking water, beverages, or from food and drugs. Today, acute organic arsenical poisonings are mostly accidental. Considerable concern has developed surrounding its delayed effects, for its genotoxic and carcinogenic potential, which has been demonstrated in epidemiological studies and subsequent animal experiments. <b>Conclusions.</b> There is substantial epidemiological evidence for an excessive risk, mostly for skin and lung cancer, among humans exposed to organic arsenicals in occupational and environmental settings. Furthermore, the genotoxic and carcinogenic effects have only been observed at relatively high exposure rates. Current epidemiological and experimental studies are attempting to elucidate the mechanism of this action, pointing to the question whether arsenic is actually a true genotoxic, or rather an epigenetic carcinogen. Due to the complexity of its effects, both options remain plausible. Its interactions with other toxic substances still represent another important field of interest.

The quality of life of farmers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

<b>Introduction and objective.</b> COPD is a medical state characterized by chronically poor airflow, and typically worsens over time. Farmers have an increased risk of COPD because of being exposed to ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, inorganic dust, and organic dust. The quality of life of the ill depends on biomedical as well as psychosocial factors, the impact of which has not been a frequent subject of studies among COPD patients. The aim of the study was to indicate the factors that have negative and positive influence on the quality of life of farmers suffering from COPD. <b>Materials and method.</b> The study was conducted among 84 farmers treated for COPD in the Department of Pneumology, Oncology and Allergology of the Medical University in Lublin, Poland. The differences between the farmers concerned: severity of the disease, level of education and income, frequency of smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol, kinds of support they receive from their families, and the level of depression and anxiety experienced by the patients. <b>Results.</b> The study revealed that most patients suffered from depressive and anxiety disorders, and the level of depression higher among the patients who smoked more. Lack of family support had significant influence on exacerbation of the patient's depressive and anxiety symptoms. Patients who had recently experienced a critical situation presented with more severe COPD symptoms, lower quality of life and a higher level of depression. Higher income of the patients had positive influence on their quality of life. Farmers addicted to alcohol suffered from a higher level of anxiety.

Psychosocial Risk Factors for Low Back Pain and Absenteeism among Slovenian Professional Drivers.

The aim of this study was to determine the most common psychosocial risk factors for absenteeism and the extent to which low back pain occurs among Slovenian professional drivers as result of various psychosocial risk factors.