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The college was founded in 1961 with the purpose to provide a well rounded education of high calibre where students can acquire the necessary academic knowledge.
Founded in 1702 by Leopold I Habsburg. Since the beginning of 20th century the university has produced 9 Nobel Prize winners.
The history dates back to 1940. At present, the university includes 4 institutes, 14 faculties and 73 departments.
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Nanowires are a high-aspect-ratio material of increasing interest for a wide range of applications. A new and promising method to produce nanowires is by aerotaxy, where the wires are grown in a continuous stream of gas. The aerotaxy method can grow nanowires much faster than by more conventional methods. Nanowires have important properties in common with asbestos fibers, which indicate that there can be potential health effects if exposure occurs. No conclusive exposure (or emission) data from aerotaxy-production of nanowires has so far been published.
Different work tasks during semiconductor nanowire production, post-production, and maintenance were studied. A combination of direct-reading instruments for number concentration (0.007–20 µm) and filter sampling was used to assess the emissions (a couple of centimeter from the emission sources), the exposure in the personal breathing zone (max 30 cm from nose–mouth), and the concentrations in the background zone (at least 3 m from any emission source). The filters were analyzed for metal dust composition and number concentration of nanowires. Various surfaces were sampled for nanowire contamination.
The particle concentrations in the emission zone (measured with direct-reading instruments) were elevated during cleaning of arc discharge, manual reactor cleaning, exchange of nanowire outflow filters, and sonication of substrates with nanowires. In the case of cleaning of the arc discharge and manual reactor cleaning, the emissions affected the concentrations in the personal breathing zone and were high enough to also affect the concentrations in the background. Filter analysis with electron microscopy could confirm the presence of nanowires in some of the air samples.
Our results show that a major part of the potential for exposure occurs not during the actual manufacturing, but during the cleaning and maintenance procedures. The exposures and emissions were evaluated pre- and post-upscaling the production and showed that some work tasks (e.g. exchange of nanowire outflow filters and sonication of substrates with nanowires) increased the emissions post-upscaling.
Pesticide spray drift represents an important exposure pathway that may cause illness among orchard workers. To strike a balance between improving spray coverage and reducing drift, new sprayer technologies are being marketed for use in modern tree canopies to replace conventional axial fan airblast (AFA) sprayers that have been used widely since the 1950s. We designed a series of spray trials that used mixed-effects modeling to compare tracer-based drift volume levels for old and new sprayer technologies in an orchard work environment. Building on a smaller study of 6 trials (168 tree rows) that collected polyester line drift samples (n = 270 measurements) suspended on 15 vertical masts downwind of an AFA sprayer application, this study included 9 additional comparison trials (252 tree rows; n = 405 measurements) for 2 airblast tower sprayers: the directed air tower (DAT) and the multi-headed fan tower (MFT). Field-based measurements at mid (26 m) and far (52 m) distances showed that the DAT and MFT sprayers had 4–15 and 35–37% less drift than the AFA. After controlling for downwind distance, sampling height, and wind speed, model results indicated that the MFT [−35%; 95% confidence interval (CI): −22 and −49%; P < 0.001] significantly reduced drift levels compared to the AFA, but the DAT did not (−7%; 95% CI: −19 and 6%; P = 0.29). Tower sprayers appear to be a promising means by which to decrease drift levels through shorter nozzle-to-tree canopy distances and more horizontally directed aerosols that escape the tree canopy to a lesser extent. Substitution of these new technologies for AFA sprayers is likely to reduce the frequency and magnitude of pesticide drift exposures and associated illnesses. These findings, especially for the MFT, may fit United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) one-star rating of 25–50% reduction. An ‘AFA buyback’ incentive program could be developed to stimulate wider adoption of new drift-reducing spray technologies. However, improved sprayer technologies alone do not eliminate drift. Applicator training, including proper sprayer calibration and maintenance, and application exclusion zones (AEZs) can also contribute to minimizing the risks of drift exposure. With regard to testing DRTs and establishing AEZs, our study findings demonstrate the need to define the impact of airblast sprayer type, orchard architecture, sampling height, and wind speed.
This study experimentally evaluates the performance of different sorbent tubes for sampling acetone vapor in workplace air. A dynamic atmosphere system produced an acetone alone and a mixture with other analytes containing ~73, 483, and 1898 µg acetone mass loading at 25, 50, and 75% relative humidity (RH) at 25°C. Sorbent samples were analyzed in accordance with OSHA Method 69 (Carbosieve S-III) and NMAM 1501, modified to use Anasorb 747 sorbent. Both methods were modified to include the additional analytes. Additional extraction procedures with and without 1% dimethylformamide and anhydrous magnesium sulfate were included in the modified NMAM 1501 using Anasorb 747. Silica gel sorbent tubes analyzed according to NMAM 2027 were included. There were significant reductions in the recovery of acetone from both Anasorb 747 and Carbosieve S-III collected from air at 75% RH, relative to collection at 25 or 50% RH at very low loading compared with that of samples collected at mid to high loading. Silica gel provided a consistent recovery of acetone at all RHs and in the presence of other chemical interferences at 75% RH. The likely cause of mass dependence may arise from the humidity effect on acetone adsorption onto both beaded active carbon and carbon molecular sieve either in sampling or in analysis. The present study confirms not only previous observations but also adds to the literature showing carbonaceous sorbents are not well suited for sampling ketones at high humidity and low concentration.
There is a principal need for more precise methodology with regard to the determination of occupational dermal exposure. The goal of the Systematic analysis of Dermal Exposure to hazardous chemical Agents at the workplace project was therefore to generate scientific knowledge to improve and standardize measurement methods for dermal exposure to chemicals at the workplace. In addition, the comparability of different measurement methods was investigated. Different methods (body sampling by means of coveralls and patches, hand sampling by means of gloves and washing, and head sampling by means of headbands and wiping) were compared. Volunteers repeatedly performed a selection of tasks under standardized conditions in test chambers to increase the reproducibility and decrease variability. The selected tasks were pouring, rolling, spraying, and handling of objects immersed in liquid formulations, as well as dumping and handling objects contaminated with powder. For the chemical analysis, the surrogate test substance Tinopal SWN was analyzed by means of a high-performance liquid chromatographic method using a fluorescence detector. Tinopal SWN was either applied as a solid product in its pure form, or as a low and high viscosity liquid containing Tinopal SWN in dissolved form. To compare the sampling methods with patches and coveralls, the exposure values as measured on the patches were extrapolated to the surface areas of the respective parts of the coverall. Based on this extrapolation approach, using the patch method resulted in somewhat higher exposure values compared to using a coverall for all exposure situations, but the differences were only statistically significant in case of the liquid exposure situations. Using gloves resulted in significantly higher exposure values compared to hand wash for handling immersed objects, rolling, and handling contaminated objects, and slightly higher (not significant) exposure values during pouring and spraying. In the same context, applying wipe sampling resulted in higher exposure values than using a headband, which was at least partly due to extrapolation of the wipe results to the surface area of the headband. No ‘golden standard’ with regard to a preferred measurement method for dermal exposure could be identified from the methods as investigated in the current study.
In a refractory brick manufacturing company a qualitative and quantitative determination of the sources of occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) was obtained in order to validate targeted hygiene measurements. The study included the assessment of PAHs contamination of work surfaces by wipe-sampling, cutaneous exposure by hand washing, contamination of personal protective equipments (gloves) by extraction in solvent, and airborne PAHs concentration in atmospheric samples. Biomonitoring was also carried out by measurement of urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHPU) in three groups of workers (packaging, production, and controls). The surface contamination sampling was performed in production, packaging, and in other departments (external area) in theory less contaminated by PAHs. Two different areas were identified within the production, one included surfaces that were regularly cleaned (A area) and one included data from non-cleaned surfaces (B area). To confirm the source of exposure, a clear correspondence was observed between the percentage of the single compounds in the binder and those measured in wipes and air samples. As far as the wipes are concerned, the concentrations of phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene, pyrene, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), and the total PAHs mixture were higher in the B area than the A area of production. The same happened between the A area and the other two departments. According to results of the statistical analysis, these differences were significant. These results were confirmed by the hand washing data and the analysis of PPE. On the other hand, a marked difference does not exist between the packaging department and the external area. In air samples, the differences were much less evident with only higher concentrations of anthracene and total PAHs between production as a whole and the other two departments. Biological monitoring showed 1-OHPU values significantly higher in production workers than in packaging workers. In conclusion, the analysis of the wipes demonstrated that the production B area has a higher surface contamination compared to the production A area and the packaging department. In the absence of a significant difference in air concentrations of PAHs between A and B areas, this is attributable to surfaces not subject to cleaning. Results confirm that the measurement of surface contamination represents a valid tool for the assessment of sources of exposure to PAHs in the workplace.
The asbestos industry has always claimed that asbestos is a ‘magic mineral’, which is not replaceable. New findings, however, contradict this because asbestos-free alternatives, with excellent insulating properties, have been available since the end of the nineteenth century. The aim of this current research is to gather evidence of the potential of ‘Martinite’ to replace asbestos. We identified references to ‘Martinite’ in documents and brochures pertaining to insulation of ships, dating back as far as possible by acquiring recent interviews, utilizing records in public libraries and in archives, and conducting web searches. Martinite was produced by a small company called ‘Manifatture Martiny’, founded at the end of the nineteenth century in Turin, Italy. This company was specialized in insulation materials production, such as cork, rubber, foams, and even asbestos. In the early twentieth century, Martinite was utilized in warships of the Royal Italian Navy. During this time, it was patented in Italy and in many other industrialized nations. It was also utilized in construction of civilian power plants and was approved by the Architects Corporation in 1940. Furthermore, it was licenced in 1950 by the Italian National Naval Certification Body (UNAV) to be used on ships. We argue that had Martinite been properly advertised and distributed, it could have been used worldwide in place of asbestos for some applications, resulting in a lower incidence of serious and fatal diseases. The small scale of the company, compared to those of the asbestos multinationals, contributed to the lack of commercial development of the product.
Existing asthma-specific job-exposure matrices (JEMs) do not necessarily reflect current working conditions in the USA and do not directly function with occupational coding systems commonly used in the USA. We initiated a project to modify an existing JEM to address these limitations, and to apply the new JEM to the entire US employed population to estimate quantitatively the extent of probable work-related asthma exposures nationwide.
We started with an asthma-specific JEM that was developed for northern Europe (the N-JEM) and modified it to function with the 2010 US Standard Occupational Classification (SOC-2010) codes and to reflect working conditions in the USA during the post-2000 period. This involved cross walking from the 1988 International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO-88) codes used in the N-JEM to the SOC-2010 codes, transferring the N-JEM exposure assignments to the SOC-2010 codes, and modifying those assignments to reflect working conditions in the USA. The new US asthma JEM (USA-JEM) assigns exposures to 19 agents organized into five categories. The USA-JEM and N-JEM were applied to the same sample of working adults with asthma to compare how they performed, and the USA-JEM was also applied to the entire 2015 US working population to estimate the extent of occupational asthma exposures nationally.
The USA-JEM assigns at least one asthma-related probable exposure to 47.5% and at least one possible exposure to 14.9% of the 840 SOC-2010 detailed occupations, and 9.0% of the occupations have both probable exposure to at least one agent and possible exposure to at least one other agent. The USA-JEM has greater sensitivity for cleaning products, highly reactive disinfectants and sterilants, and irritant peak exposures than the N-JEM. When applied to the entire 2015 US working population, the USA-JEM determined that 42.6% of workers had probable exposure to at least one type of occupational asthma agent.
A new asthma-specific JEM for application in the USA was developed. Additional work is needed to compare its performance to similar JEMs and, if possible, to exposure assessments generated on a case-by-case basis.
There is an ongoing argument about the potency of chrysotile asbestos to cause malignant mesothelioma. Authors of chrysotile risk assessments have relied upon the results of an epidemiologic study, published in 1984, to state that there were no mesotheliomas found among workers at a Connecticut friction products plant. McDonald reported the first two cases in 1986. In 2010, we reported the work histories and pathologic reports of five individuals from the Connecticut plant who were diagnosed with mesothelioma. Despite this, a review of the health effects of chrysotile published in 2018 continued to state that there were no cases of mesothelioma from this plant. We report here two new cases that were diagnosed after the publication of our previous report, bringing the current total to nine cases. We also discuss the results of previously unpublished air sampling data from the plant. Chrysotile, mainly from Canada, was the only asbestos fiber type used until 1957 when some anthophyllite was added in making paper discs and bands. Beyond this original description of the anthophyllite usage from McDonald, there is a dearth of information about the amount of anthophyllite used in the plant, the frequency of its use, and the specific departments where it was used. For over 30 years in the published literature, this factory has alternatively been described as a ‘chrysotile’ or ‘predominantly chrysotile’ factory. While it is clear that some anthophyllite was used in the factory (in addition to 400 pounds of crocidolite in the laboratory), given the volume, frequency, and processes using chrysotile, it still seems satisfactory to describe this cohort as a predominantly, but not exclusively, chrysotile-exposed cohort.
Welding is a common industrial process with many millions of workers exposed worldwide. In October 2017, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that exposure to welding fumes causes lung cancer in humans, based primarily on the available epidemiological literature. These research studies did not show that the cancer risk differed between mild steel and stainless steel welding but were related to the total welding aerosol. Lung cancer risks were observable at very low exposure levels; below 1 mg m−3 and perhaps as low as 0.1 mg m−3, averaged over a working lifetime. As a result of this IARC evaluation, in Britain, the Health and Safety Executive has acted to strengthen its enforcement expectations for fume control at welding activities. In the light of these developments, it would seem appropriate to review current health-based exposure limits for metal dust and fumes from welding to ensure they are protective.
The CANJEM job-exposure matrix compiles expert evaluations of 31 673 jobs from four population-based case–control studies conducted in Montreal. For each job, experts had derived indices of intensity, frequency, and probability of exposure to 258 agents. CANJEM summarizes the exposures assigned to jobs into cells defined by occupation/industry, agent, and period. Some cells may, however, be less populated than others, resulting in uncertain estimates. We developed a modelling framework to refine the estimates of sparse cells by drawing on information available in adjacent cells. Bayesian hierarchical logistic and linear models were used to estimate the probability of exposure and the geometric mean (GM) of frequency-weighted intensity (FWI) of cells, respectively. The hierarchy followed the Canadian Classification and Dictionary of Occupations (CCDO) classification structure, allowing for exposure estimates to be provided across occupations (seven-digit code), unit groups (four-digit code), and minor groups (three-digit code). The models were applied to metallic dust, formaldehyde, wood dust, silica, and benzene, and four periods, adjusting for the study from which jobs were evaluated. The models provided estimates of probability and FWI for all cells that pulled the sparsely populated cells towards the average of the higher-level group. In comparisons stratified by cell sample size, shrinkage of the estimates towards the group mean was marked below 5 jobs/cell, moderate from 5 to 9 jobs/cell, and negligible at ≥10 jobs/cell. The modelled probability of three-digit cells were slightly smaller than their descriptive estimates. No systematic trend in between-study differences in exposure emerged. Overall, the modelling framework for FWI appears to be a suitable approach to refine CANJEM estimates. For probability, the models could be improved by methods better adapted to the large number of cells with no exposure.