March 16, 2012 • Volume 11, Issue 6
A twice monthly e-news product with information about workplace safety and health.
Occupational exposure to diesel exhaust multiplies risk of lung cancer for miners
Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have found that miners exposed to diesel exhaust on the job face a much higher risk for lung cancer.
In a cohort mortality study (PDF*) and a nested case-control study (PDF*), both recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers analyzed lung cancer mortality among miners exposed to diesel exhaust, controlling for smoking, exposure to radon, and other risk factors and contaminants. The authors, including OSHA Industrial Hygienist Joseph Coble, found an approximately three-fold increase in the risk of dying from lung cancer among the most heavily exposed workers.
Diesel exhaust is a pervasive airborne contaminant in workplaces where diesel-powered equipment is used. More than one million workers are exposed to diesel exhaust and face the risk of adverse health effects, ranging from headaches and nausea to cancer and respiratory disease. For more information, visit OSHA's Diesel Exhaust page.
Brazilian Blowout manufacturer agrees to compensate salon workers exposed to formaldehyde hazards
The manufacturer of Brazilian Blowout, a hair-straightening product that OSHA has found can expose salon workers to dangerous levels of airborne formaldehyde, has settled a class-action lawsuit for about $4.5 million in damages.
Under the terms of the agreement, workers will be compensated for their exposure to the hazardous substance, as well as for each bottle of the product they bought. The company can no longer market its product as "formaldehyde free," and must provide more detailed instructions on how to use it safely. This agreement follows a January ruling in which California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris ordered the company to cease its deceptive advertising, make significant changes to its Web site, and pay $600,000 in fees, penalties and costs.
For more information about the dangers of certain hair smoothing and straightening products, visit OSHA's Hair Salons Web page and updated Hazard Alert to salon workers.
Target protects factory workers from silicosis by no longer carrying sandblasted denim
In an effort to reduce silicosis hazards to denim factory workers, the Target Corporation announced Feb. 28 it would phase out sandblasted denim by the end of 2012. The Minneapolis-based company is joining with Levi Strauss & Co. to end the practice of sandblasting to produce denim clothing that appears pre-worn.
Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica particles has long been known to cause silicosis, a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease. Respirable crystalline silica also causes lung cancer. Common workplace operations involving cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone products (such as in construction operations), and operations using sand products (such as in glass manufacturing, foundries and sand blasting), can result in worker inhalation of small crystalline silica particles in the air. For more information, visit OSHA's Crystalline Silica page.
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