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   2011| September-December  | Volume 15 | Issue 3  
    Online since February 24, 2012

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Health and environmental sanitation in India: Issues for prioritizing control strategies
S Ganesh Kumar, Sitanshu Sekhar Kar, Animesh Jain
September-December 2011, 15(3):93-96
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93196  PMID:22412284
Environmental sanitation is a major public health issue in India. Recent interventional studies on environmental sanitation in India highlighted the importance of prioritizing control strategies. Research related to the appropriate cost-effective intervention strategies and their implementation in Indian context is a big challenge. This paper discusses various intervention strategies related to environmental sanitation in India and emphasizes to prioritize it according to the need of country.
  9,175 321 12
Public health impact of plastics: An overview
Neeti Rustagi, SK Pradhan, Ritesh Singh
September-December 2011, 15(3):100-103
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93198  PMID:22412286
Plastic, one of the most preferred materials in today's industrial world is posing serious threat to environment and consumer's health in many direct and indirect ways. Exposure to harmful chemicals during manufacturing, leaching in the stored food items while using plastic packages or chewing of plastic teethers and toys by children are linked with severe adverse health outcomes such as cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive effects etc. Promotion of plastics substitutes and safe disposal of plastic waste requires urgent and definitive action to take care of this potential health hazard in future.
  9,339 151 16
Incidence of silicosis in flourmill workers
Amita Athavale, Aparna Iyer, Debasis Sahoo, Kapil Salgia, Abhijit Raut, Neeti Kanodra
September-December 2011, 15(3):104-108
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93199  PMID:22412287
Background: Silicosis is an ancient occupational illness reported in silica mill workers, agate stone workers, slate pen workers and mining industry. However its association in flour mill workers has not been established. Aims: To study the incidence of silicosis and respiratory morbidity in flour mill workers. Settings and Design: A prospective study of 56 flour mill workers working with open silica grinding stones was undertaken. Materials and Methods: 56 flour mill workers who volunteered following information regarding the study purpose were recruited from the community. Detailed clinical and occupational history, lung functions, chest x-ray, and high resolution computed tomography (HRCT) were done. Diagnosis was made on the basis of radiological findings. Statistical Analysis: Data analysis was done with the help of the statistical package for social sciences software. The Chi-square test was used for determining the relationship between qualitative data and descriptive statistics was used where required. Results: 93% had respiratory symptoms that included cough (66.1%), dyspnea (75%), chest pain (17.1%), and rhinorrhea (46.4%). Radiological abnormalities were noted in chest X-ray (60.7%) and HRCT (81.48%). A significant correlation was seen between duration of exposure and HRCT abnormalities. Lung functions revealed obstruction in 28.5% subjects, restriction in 19%, mixed ventilatory defects in 21.4%, while 18.9% had a reduced diffusion capacity. Conclusion: Incidence of silicosis in our study on flour mill workers working with silica containing grinding stones was 30.4%. They had high respiratory morbidity (93%) cough and dyspnea being predominant symptoms. Duration of exposure correlates with radiological findings and increased incidence of silicosis.
  6,345 155 4
Study of the effects of hydrogen cyanide exposure in Cassava workers
Priya Kali Dhas, Pachiappan Chitra, Sylvia Jayakumar, Aruna Rita Mary
September-December 2011, 15(3):133-136
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93204  PMID:22412292
Background : Hydrogen cyanide is the chemical responsible for tissue hypoxia. Chronic exposure to HCN may cause neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular and thyroid defects. Onset of symptoms depends on dose and duration of exposure. Large scale of Cassava processing could be disastrous due to discharge of hydrocyanic acid into the air. Cassava processing is the major industrial work in and around Salem. Hence the present study is taken to assess the effects of HCN exposure in Cassava workers. Materials and Methods: Thirty-nine workers from a Cassava processing unit at Salem and age-matched controls of the same economic status were taken up for this study. Clinical history was obtained with a questionnaire and their Blood sugar, lipid profile, serum total protein, urea, creatinine, AST, ALT and T 3 , T 4 , TSH were estimated using a fasting blood sample and AIP was calculated. Statistical analysis was done by student t test. Results: Our study reveals a significant increase in triglyceride in Cassava workers when compared to the control. Atherogenic index of plasma (AIP) is statistically highly significant. A significant decrease was seen in T 4. Conclusion: An increase in TGL and AIP shows a higher degree of cardiovascular risk. A decrease in T4 suggests an insufficient iodine uptake by thyroid gland. Hence a periodic medical evaluation should be done on such workers for their safety and to prevent the health hazard.
  6,300 81 5
Assessment of awareness regarding climate change in an urban community
Harshal T Pandve, PS Chawla, Kevin Fernandez, Samir A Singru, Deepak Khismatrao, Sangita Pawar
September-December 2011, 15(3):109-112
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93200  PMID:22412288
Background : Climate change has emerged as one of the most devastating environmental threats. It is essential to assess the awareness regarding climate change in the general population for framing the mitigation activities. Aim: To assess the awareness regarding climate change in an urban community. Settings and Design: Urban field practice area of a medical college in the Pune city. Observational study. Materials and Methods: The cross-sectional survey was conducted in the urban adult population who had given the written consent. A pre-tested questionnaire was used for a face to face interview. Responses were evaluated. Statistical Analysis Used: Proportions, percentage. Results: Total 733 respondents above 18 years of age were included in the present survey. 672 (91.68%) respondents commented that global climate is changing. 547 (81.40%) respondents opined that human activities are contributing to climate change. 576 (85.71%) respondents commented that climate changing based on their personal experiences. Commonest source of information about climate change was television (59.78%). Poor awareness about UNFCC, Kyoto Protocol and IPCC was found. 549 (74.90%) respondents commented that deforestation contribute most significantly towards climate change. As per 530 (72.31%) respondents water related issues are due to changing climate change. According to 529 (72.17%) respondents, direct physical hazards of extreme climatic events are most important health related impact of climate change. According to 478 (65.21%) respondents, life style changes (63.3%) would be most effective in tackling climate change and for preventing further climate change. Conclusion: The urban general population is aware about changing global climate. Personal efforts are more important in mitigating climate change as per the urban general population. The awareness campaigns regarding mitigation activities are recommended.
  5,131 149 12
A comparative ergonomic study of work-related upper extremity musculo skeletal disorder among the unskilled and skilled surgical blacksmiths in West Bengal, India
Tirthankar Ghosh, Banibrata Das, Somnath Gangopadhyay
September-December 2011, 15(3):127-132
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93203  PMID:22412291
Objective: The main aim of the study was to determine the nature and extent of work-related upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and physiological stress among the blacksmiths involved in surgical instrument industry. Materials and Methods: In the present investigation, 50 male blacksmiths of each skilled and unskilled groups of the forging section had been selected. For the symptom survey, a questionnaire on discomfort symptoms was performed. Repetitiveness of work and hand grip strength of both the groups were measured. Results: It was revealed that upper limb MSD was a major problem among both group of blacksmith, primarily involving the hand, wrist, fingers, and shoulder. From this study it was found that 66% (33) skilled and 80% (40) unskilled blacksmith workers are feeling discomfort. The most commonly affected regions among the skilled and unskilled blacksmith workers were lower back (skilled 65% and unskilled 80%), neck (skilled 60% and unskilled 80%), and hand (skilled 50% and unskilled).
  4,747 171 3
Disaster management as part of curriculum for undergraduate and postgraduate courses: The Symbiosis model
Vijay Deshpande
September-December 2011, 15(3):97-99
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93197  PMID:22412285
From times immemorial disasters in some form or the other have been regularly visiting humankind and humans have been trying to manage these upheavals. Noah's arch is the first such endeavor. The United Nations declared 1990-1999 as International Decade for Disaster Reduction. The Indian Government passed the Disaster Management Act 2005. As a consequence of the Act, the National Disaster Management Authority was setup. All states were given the guide lines for disaster risk reduction. The objective of this article is to get a clearer picture of what various states, educational authorities and international bodies have done and what Symbiosis International University (SIU) has done so far. Inputs from various States of the Indian Union and neighboring countries were studied. The moot question that figured all the time was "Is there a conscious effort to include Disaster Management in the curricula of various courses at the college and university level" and what are the achievements. It was seen that the Central Board for Secondary Education with support from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Human Resource Development and United Nations Development Project have incorporated DM, as part of its frontline curriculum. Most of the Universities in the disaster prone states have enunciated policies for including DM in the curriculum, but palpable results are still awaited. In the SIU, DM has been incorporated in the curriculum and is mandatory for all undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
  4,703 82 1
Study to assess the level of stress and identification of significant stressors among the railway engine pilots
Sumit Prakash, Purushottam Khapre, Subrata K Laha, Nishant Saran
September-December 2011, 15(3):113-119
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93201  PMID:22412289
Introduction: Increasing demands, exacting management, poor ergonomics, and intense competition within and without are likely to contribute to stress among the railway engine pilots. This excess of stress and its consequences cost very high to both the organization and the consumers. Aims and Objectives: This study aims to identify the particular stressors affecting the railway engine pilots and their level of occupational stress in order to improve the safety, efficiency, and overall productivity of the railways and to propose the remedies. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study conducted at Central Hospital, SECR, Bilaspur, from 20/09/10 to 20/11/10, involving a study sample of 100 healthy Loco Pilots and 100 controls with similar safety category meeting the set inclusion and exclusion criteria, subjected to cross-sectional interviews and questionnaires. Results: Job stress correlated significantly with fatigue (P<0.001), ergonomics of work place (P<0.05) (particularly the postural discomfort and cab space), management pressure (P<0.01), high job demand (P<0.001), low control and low support at work (P<0.01), biological functions (P<0.05), and absenteeism (P<0.001). Top ten stressors have been identified and postural discomfort tops the list. The study also identifies minimal efforts from administration to reduce stress of its employees. Conclusion: The high demand, low control, and low support at the work with difficult work environment and inadequate recreation at the place of intermediary rest corroborates with development of stress affecting the normal biological functions leading to either avoidance of duty or making the railway engine pilots susceptible to fatigue and drowsiness, neglect, injuries, and accidents.
  4,515 128 1
Cardiac strain of confectionery worker in relation to heat exposure during regular work shift
Rajib Biswas, Amalendu Samanta, Prasenjit Saha
September-December 2011, 15(3):120-126
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93202  PMID:22412290
Context: In India, a wide variety of occupations are performed in adverse indoor working environment. Work physiological studies in these jobs are scanty as compared to investigations done on more arduous outdoor occupations. Aims and Objectives: Physiological strain of workers engaged in sweet making activities was assessed in terms of cardiac strain indices in relation to heat stress. Setting and Design: 33 full-time workers from eastern India were compared for cardiac strain profile obtained during summer and winter during their regular work shift. A comparison was also done in between younger (n=12) and older (n=16) subjects. Materials and Methods : Working heart rate (WHR) was recorded continuously during work. The pulse deceleration index (PDI) was obtained from recovery heart rate (RHR). Net cardiac cost (NCC) and relative cardiac cost (RCC) were the main indices used to evaluate physical strain. Thermal stress assessed from wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT). Statistical Analysis: Students' t-test and Wilcoxon signed rank paired tests were used for comparing physiological responses. Values were considered significant when P < 0.05. Results: Work load was significantly higher in summer for all workers. RCC of younger workers in winter and summer ranged between 18% and 26%. This was significantly lower as compared to the RCC of older workers which was 27% in winter and 30% in summer. The physiological workload appeared to be moderate in nature. The WBGT index was above the recommended range in summer for both the groups. Older workers showed a no recovery pattern in terms of recovery pulse that indicated toward a cumulative stress which may be attributed to a combined effect of heat and work in summer and extra amount of work performed in winter season. Conclusion: The physical workload is aggravated with various ergonomic stressors present in the work place. An ergonomic intervention has been indicated as further scope of this study.
  4,348 108 2
Occupational health and safety in chemical industries in transitional economies
Viswanathan Swaminathan
September-December 2011, 15(3):85-86
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93194  PMID:22412282
  4,251 173 1
Climate change vulnerability: Index and mapping
Harshal T Pandve, PS Chawla, Kevin Fernandez, Samir A Singru
September-December 2011, 15(3):142-143
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93207  PMID:22412295
  4,340 84 1
Successful intervention in a child with toxic methemoglobinemia due to nail polish remover poisoning
Soumya Patra, Gurleen Sikka, Ajoy Kumar Khaowas, Virender Kumar
September-December 2011, 15(3):137-138
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93205  PMID:22412293
Children are most susceptible to accidental exposure of common household substances and one of the common household substances is nail polish remover. We are presenting a case of accidental ingestion of nail polish remover with lethal methemoglobinemia (serum methemoglobin level-72%). This patient was treated successfully with injection methylene blue. However, even small amounts can be dangerous to children, so it is important to keep this and all household chemicals in a safe place
  4,001 94 3
Working condition: A key factor in increasing occupational hazard among bidi rollers: A population health research with respect to DNA damage
Poonam Shukla, Asha Khanna, Salil K Jain
September-December 2011, 15(3):139-141
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93206  PMID:22412294
The present investigation was undertaken to study the role of working conditions in occupational hazards among bidi rollers occupationally exposed to tobacco dust with reference to DNA damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes. Initially, biomonitoring was conducted by estimating urinary thioether to detect the extent of xenobiotic exposure, and genotoxicity was evaluated by assessing DNA damage and micronucleus frequency in buccal epithelial cells in female bidi rollers occupationally exposed to bidi tobacco dust. Student's t-test was used to test the significance between the means. Results showed a significant increase in urinary thioether level in during-shift urine samples as compared to pre-shift samples, which indicated exposure of bidi rollers to xenobiotic compounds. A significant increase in DNA damage was observed in the rollers working in confined environment as compared to those who worked in open and mixed kind of working conditions. Keeping in view the adverse effects of tobacco inhalation on the genotoxic effects in bidi rollers as an occupational hazard and in order to minimize the hazardous effects, it is recommended that masks should be worn by the bidi rollers during work to minimize inhalation of tobacco dust. Gloves should be worn particularly if there are bruises etc. in the palm. To minimize the absorption through eyes, covered glasses should be worn. The entire process of bidi rolling may be done preferably under well ventilated conditions. Due care to be taken to sit in the direction facing the direction of wind to avoid inhalation of blown away tobacco dust.
  3,608 101 3
Oxidative stress effects of thinner inhalation
Minerva Martínez-Alfaro, Yolanda Alcaraz-Contreras, Alfonso Cárabez-Trejo, Guillermo E Leo-Amador
September-December 2011, 15(3):87-92
DOI:10.4103/0019-5278.93195  PMID:22412283
Thinners are chemical mixtures used as industrial solvents. Humans can come into contact with thinner by occupational exposure or by intentional inhalation abuse. Thinner sniffing causes damage to the brain, kidney, liver, lung, and reproductive system. We discuss some proposed mechanism by which thinner induces damage. Recently, the induction of oxidative stress has been suggested as a possible mechanism of damage. This paper reviews the current evidence for oxidative stress effects induced by thinner inhalation. Early ideas about the effects of thinner on lipids are discussed in one section. We discuss several studies that have shown the oxidative effects of thinner inhalation on: lipid peroxidation, levels of antioxidant enzymes, glutathione depletion, and oxidation of proteins and DNA. We have also included studies about oxidative stress effects induced by toluene, the principal component (60-70%) of thinner. Finally, work describing the effects of oxidative stress induced by thinner inhalation on different organs is discussed.
  3,411 89 10