Occupational Health News Roundup

Two recent studies add the knowledge about the risks associated with on-the-job exposure to pesticides. University of Ottowa researchers analyzed 35 studies on parental occupational exposure to pesticides and childhood leukemia, and found that children whose mothers were exposed to pesticides at work while pregnant have twice the risk of developing childhood leukemia.

Researchers at France’s national institute for health research have helped confirm the link between occupational exposures to pesticides and Parkinson’s disease, which has been found in other recent studies, too. They found among the main groups of pesticides (fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides), the association was strongest for insecticides. Men exposed to organochlorine insecticides, which are highly persistent in the environment, had more than double the risk of Parkinson’s as men without exposure.

In other news:

Associated Press: Lawsuits and Congressional inquiries are trying to get at the truth about whether contractor KBR knew that an Iraq water plant site they were in charge of was heavily contaminated with hexavalent chromium – and that National Guard troops stationed there were exposed to it.

New York Times: Twenty active and retired members of the military will let researchers study their brains after they die to learn more about the effects of blast injuries. Examination of tissue from deceased football players’ brains found the kinds of damage that have been linked to depression and cognitive decline.

National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health: Casino dealers asked NIOSH to measure their exposure to secondhand smoke; the agency found that dealers were taking up a carcinogenic smoke component while at work, and recommended that the casinos institute a no-smoking policy.

CNN: Officials in China are working with prostitutes to educate them about HIV transmission and dispel myths, like the idea that medical injections can prevent infection.

New York Times: Recovering alcoholics who work in the food service industry face the challenge of constantly being around alcohol – and sometimes needing to taste it.

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