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Faster health deterioration among nail technicians occupationally exposed to low levels of volatile organic compounds

Peter Grešner 1  ,  
Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Department of Toxicology and Carcinogenesis)
Objectives: The study has aimed at investigating the subjective assessment of an individual’s health status and comparing the prevalence of selected work-related symptoms among nail technicians occupationally exposed to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to the one among control subjects. Associations between occupational exposure to VOCs and the incidence of adverse health effects were also analyzed. Material and Methods: The study involved 145 female nail technicians and 152 control subjects. Data on the prevalence of adverse health effects was collected using the researcher- made questionnaire and then analyzed by means of survival analysis methods. Results: Only 22% of nail technicians as compared to 45% of control subjects described their current health status as “excellent” or “very good” (odds ratio (OR) = 0.4, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.2–0.6, p < 0.00005). In general, 61% of nail technicians confirmed to have experienced any out of all symptoms considered in the study since the commencement of the job, which was significantly higher as compared to 17% of control subjects (adjusted OR = 2.8, 95% CI: 2.1–3.7, p < 0.0001). Estimated median length of the employment period free of investigated symptoms was significantly shorter among nail technicians as compared to controls (12 years vs. 33 years, p < 0.0001), consistent with almost 4-times increased hazard of the occurrence of such symptoms among the technicians (hazard ratio (HR) = 3.9, 95% CI: 2.7–5.7, p < 0.0001). Cox proportional hazard regression modeling revealed almost 5-times increased hazard of the occurrence of any symptoms among nail technicians exposed to higher levels of the mixture of VOCs as compared to those exposed to lower levels (HR = 4.9, 95% CI: 1–24.1, p = 0.05). Conclusions: All outcomes combined together indicate that nail technicians are subject to faster health deterioration, which may be assumed to be caused by occupational exposure to low levels of VOCs. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2017;30(3)
Peter Grešner   
Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Department of Toxicology and Carcinogenesis, św. Teresy 8, 91-348 Łódź, Poland