аЯрЁБс>ўџ ACўџџџ@џџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџџьЅСY ПЕ;bjbjѓWѓW yN‘=‘=x7<џџџџџџ]NNNNNNN4‚‚‚‚hъ$‚ƒ ЖZZ"||||||‰ ‹ ‹ ‹ ?Ъ РŠ РJ $9 є-ˆn N|||||n *NN||6$***|ŒN|N|‰ ‚‚NNNN|‰ *А*кVЄйNN‰ |* @mLЄб~П‚‚"} OHES Newsletter 2/98 EDITORIAL The developing activities of the OHES Committee were the subject of one of the sessions at the General Assembly held in Cancun, Mexico from May 27 to 29 this year. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the contributors to the session both for the highly professional quality of their presentations and also for the way in which the specific issues facing our industry were clearly analysed. If any members wish to receive copies of the material presented in Cancun then a request to the IMnI secretariat will lead to a prompt response and supply of the IMnI copyright material. A survey of OHES affairs is currently underway using a questionnaire drawn up by IMnI. The answers given by individual company members will, after due analysis, provide for the first time a clear picture of the approaches being taken in different countries, with different regulatory regimes, to occupational health and environmental matters, as they affect the production and use of manganese-containing materials. Although surveys such as this may appear to you as being simply a question of yet more forms to fill in, I would like to emphasise how invaluable your replies are to us and to thank you for your co-operation in providing complete details via the questionnaire. Provided that all the returns are received by the fourth quarter of 1998, an analysis accompanied by a commentary will be published by the end of 1998 and made available to all participants in the survey. The response to date has been most gratifying and we have been receiving enquiries from other organisations, interested in the IMnI approach, as to how they might benefit from our experience or take part in the survey themselves as users of manganese-containing materials. An important step forward was also taken at Cancun when the IMnI Board, under the chairmanship of Graeme Hunt, accepted the recommendation of the Scientific Advisory Group that a research project, selected from a number of competing proposals, be funded by IMnI. The project is aimed at improving our understanding of the mechanisms of action of manganese in the human body. With such knowledge we will be better placed to argue our case when regulatory proposals to impose lower levels of manganese in ambient air, water and in the workplace are made by governmental or international bodies. Full details will be published when the formal contract issues are settled during the summer. Another activity, which we are now to undertake, will as a result provide member companies with the names and relevant contact details of a number of medically-qualified experts, recognised by their peers for their professional standing, who can offer advice including diagnostic comments when employee health problems possibly related to manganese exposure arise. As you can see from this brief summary, IMnI is increasing the number and range of services offered to members and we look forward to receiving further suggestions as to how we can improve or extend such services for the good of all companies working in the manganese industry. V. Trelut / Chairman, OHES Committee OHES SESSION IN CANCUN As part of the General Assembly Proceedings held in Cancun, Mexico from May 27 to 29, 1998, a half-day session was devoted to a review of current OHES affairs. Seven presentations were made with the introductory and concluding remarks being made by the Committee chairman, Vincent Trelut of Comilog. The background to the formation of the Committee was reviewed and the need for a pro-active approach based upon an enlightened management with responsible care as the basis for their decisions was spelled out. The support services provided by IMnI are based on two main objectives : the provision of medical, scientific and regulatory information and advice underpinned by sound research; to enable members to defend and promote their economic interests when dealing with regulatory affairs via communication and advocacy. The challenge of improving safety, health and environment performance by company management was illustrated by an excellent review of BHP's experience on this subject: Graeme Hunt pointed out that good safety practices can save money on a significant scale but more importantly that a failure to address these problems could result in the licence to operate for an individual company being withdrawn. The combination of management commitment and employee involvement was the key to success. The background to the OHES survey currently being made by means of a questionnaire was explained by the Executive Director with a brief analysis of the initial returns being presented by Erle Grieg Astrup of Elkem. Early results show that general health surveillance programmes are in operation at all sites but specific Mn-health surveillance programmes need to increase in number. Several brief presentations by members operating in different continents examined the impact of regulatory decisions on the marketing and use of Mn-containing materials. Major differences clearly exist between different countries on this issue and it was apparent that the relative impact of regulatory decisions on trade varies considerably. Future developments were likely to increase attention on distribution and use of Mn-containing materials. A review of the Scientific Advisory Group's (SAG) objectives was given by E.G Astrup, who illustrated the scale of possible health problems facing the industry. The educational content of her presentation was appreciated by those less knowledgeable of human physiology and neurology. The session closed with an analysis of regulatory matters, expressed in terms of questions such as : what is regulated; who regulates and how is it carried out; being given by the Executive Director. A copy of the materials presented can be obtained by members from the IMnI secretariat. OHES SURVEY The need for a sound data-base of information concerning IMnI member company activities on OHES matters, as the basis for providing support on regulatory matters, was recognised in 1997. In order to establish this data base a questionnaire was designed to provide information on four areas : monitoring of manganese in the workplace atmosphere; health surveillance programmes for workers exposed to manganese; the existence and status of research projects (previous and current) related to manganese and human health; information on regulatory standards throughout the world for ambient and occupational environments with respect to manganese. The format provided information on administrative matters; monitoring procedures including: what is monitored, frequency of monitoring and who is monitored. Industry sectors covered include mining, alloy smelting and chemical production with a total of 52 production sites for all sectors. The initial response was about 65%, although a level of 80/90% is needed for the survey to be truly representative of the industry. At this response level about 18 000 production workers are involved, and the results show that almost all have been monitored quantitatively although frequency varies considerably. More extensive Mn-related health surveillance programmes may well be needed but a final judgement must await the completion of the survey. Epidemiological studies have been and are being carried out but there is little published information in the open literature : this requires further assessment. The information on regulatory standards is somewhat complex and needs further analysis before any conclusions can be drawn. One encouraging feature of the survey has been the number of enquiries from within industry (but not IMnI members) about the questionnaire and whether copies could be supplied. We need the widest possible participation and the highest possible return rate if the conclusions to be drawn from the survey results are to lead to positive action on the diffusion of best practice procedures in this important field of operations. MEDICAL MATTERS One of the potential problem areas for manganese is its possible implication in the production of adverse structural or functional changes in the human central nervous system following exposure to specific chemical forms of manganese. The medical community groups such changes under the general title of neurotoxicity and major efforts, based on research and development programmes, are being made so as to provide methods by which neurotoxic effects can be detected and measured in humans. There is also a need for an understanding of the mechanisms by which neurotoxic effects are brought about. These two objectives if improved, accurate diagnostic techniques and basic understanding of mechanisms are at the heart of most research projects of relevance and value to industry. Neurological function can be assessed by specific aptitude tests but recent developments in the science of medical imaging enable the visualisation of such functions to be made in real time. Their relevance to the assessment of individuals subject to manganese exposure is now becoming clear and the literature contains articles describing their application and suitability for occupational health studies. Classically we are all accustomed to X-ray pictures of the human body but now we can consider using a battery of new techniques such as computed tomography (CT) scanning; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); ultrasound and posittion emission tomography (PET) to assess the neurological state safe of exposed individuals. A brief commentary on each technique may be of value. Computed tomography (CT) essentially takes a series of X-ray pictures using a camera turning around the body. A computer uses the information to form detailed cross-sectional images of high definition. In contrast MRI does not use X-rays but exploits the fact that water in the body can act as if it were a magnet and by careful manipulation of an external magnetic field the water molecules can produce local variations which enable very detailed high resolution images to be made of skin, fat and tissue. This is now being used to assess local changes in the human brain which might be produced by specific external agents taken into the body. Unfortunately the technique uses expensive equipment ($ 1.5 million/unit) and hence is not present in every hospital. An even more novel technique, PET, is being developed as a means of assessing brain function, initially at the research stage.; PET uses radio-isotopes incorporated into drug molecules injected into the patient; positirons are emitted by the isotopes and lead to the internal production of gamma radiation which can then be detected externally. The radiation allows very detailed images to be created from regions deep within the brain. These techniques will certainly become more widely available and used as a routine diagnostic tool in future. Medical practitioners with expertise in their application to neurological problems are being identified by IMnI so as to provide an expert data-base from which companies can draw assistance for specific individuals presenting health problems that may relate to their industrial exposure. NEW RESEARCH PROJECT The IMnI Board at their meeting in Cancun Mexico, held on 20 May 1998, approved the funding of a research project proposal submitted by Professor Michael Aschner of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem NC USA. His proposal had been assessed by the SAG and recommended for funding in competition with five other proposals submitted for consideration after the Little Rock Conference held in 1997. The aims of his project are to determine: whether or not manganese acts as an anti or pro-oxidant; how manganese and iron compete for accumulation in specific brain structures. If manganese acts as an anti-oxidant it may lead to a protective effect within the brain and prevent cell damage. Information on the effect of variations in manganese concentration will be provided by this programme and it may be possible to identify a threshold level for a possible neurotoxic effect. The work programme, subject to contract, is due to start by October 1998. Professor Aschner is a distinguished scientist with a record of high quality research work published in leading, peer-reviewed journals. CONFERENCE NEWS The 7th International Symposium on "Neurobehavioral Methods and Effects in Occupational and Environmental Health" is to be held in Stockholm, Sweden in June 1999. A review paper on "Manganese Neurotoxicity" is to be presented as part of the symposium. IMnI is planning to make a presentation describing some recent work on occupational exposure to manganese. Details of the conference can be obtained from the IMnI secretariat. RECENT PUBLICATIONS An ICME publication entitled "Metals in the Global Environment : Facts and Misconceptions" by Dr. J. Thornton has been issued recently. This It is of great interest to all members of IMnI as it links factual information on the sources, behaviour and pathways of metals in the environment with political decisions and the regulatory process. The book is very well-written, in a very clear style and points out the factual evidence currently available and the gaps in our knowledge which have to be addressed if a sound scientific basis is to be established for new standards and regulations. Copies of the book can be ordered at cost from the IMnI secretariat. ENVIRONMENTAL CHARTER A copy of the recently approved IMnI "Environmental Charter" is enclosed with this newsletter. The IMnI Board approved its issue during the Cancun Meeting. The charter basically testifies to the members" positive attitude to environmental affairs and their support of the principle of "responsible care" in their industrial activities. Further copies can be obtained from the IMnI secretariat. C.D. DesForges / Executive Director August 1998 Copyright Љ IMnI June 1998 No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without obtaining IMnI's prior written consent. IMnI - 17 Av. 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