Topical Issues

June 10, 2019

Usefulness of occupation and industry information in mortality data in South Africa from 2006 to 2015

Author(s): KS Wilson, N. Naicker, T. Kootbodien, V. Ntlebi, F. Made, N. Tlotleng Source: BMC Public Health (2019) 19: 866 Abstract: Background: There is no population based occupational health surveillance system in South Africa, thus mortality data may be a cost effective means of monitoring trends and possible associations with occupation. The aim of this study was to use deaths due to pneumoconiosis (a known occupational disease) to determine if the South African mortality data are a valid data source […]
May 10, 2019

Chirality, a neglected physico-chemical property of nanomaterial? A mini-review on the occurrence and importance chirality on their toxicity

Author(s): W. Utembe Source: Toxicology Letters 311 (2019) 58-65 Abstract: Toxicity assessments are required for nanomaterials which are being used in many fields such as medicines, electronics, pesticides, clothes and construction materials. One factor that usually affects toxicity of chemicals is chirality. This paper reviews the existence of chirality in nanoparticles and critically analyses the implications of chirality on toxicological risk assessment of nanoparticles. Chirality and optical activity arise from lack of symmetry, where an object is non-superimposable on its […]
May 10, 2019

Environmental silica dust exposure and pulmonary tuberculosis in Johannesburg, South Africa

Author(s): T. Kootbodien, S. Iyaloo, K. Wilson, N. Naicker, S. Kgalamono et al. Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2019, 16, 1867 Abstract: Background: Occupational crystalline silica dust exposure is associated with an elevated risk of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). However, there is less evidence for an association with environmental silica dust exposure. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 310 participants was conducted in an exposed community living within 2 km of gold mine tailings and an unexposed population […]
April 21, 2019

African Herbal Remedies with Antioxidant Activity: A potential Resource Base for Wound Treatment

Authors: M Gulumian, ES Yahaya and V Steenkamp Source: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Vol 2018, Article ID 4089541. Summary: The use of traditional herbal remedies as alternative medicine plays an important role in Africa since it forms part of primary health care for treatment of various medical conditions, including wounds. Although physiological levels of free radicals are essential to the healing process, they are known to partly contribute to wound chronicity when in excess. Consequently, antioxidant therapy has been […]
April 21, 2019

Exploring the South African legacy of asbestos using routinely collected data

Authors: T Vorster, N Kgokong, JI Phillips Source: Occupational Health Southern Africa. Vol 24 No. 5 September/October 2018 Summary: Background: Despite the banning of asbestos in South Africa in 2008, potential exposure to asbestos remains a national problem. Identifying asbestos in structures and monitoring the air are crucial activities when demolition/renovation work is being conducted. The National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH) provides a service to analyse bulk samples and air filters for the presence of asbestos fibres. Details of […]
October 21, 2019

Lead Poisoning Awareness Week (20 – 26 October 2019)

Lead exposure can have dire consequences for children and adults Lead exposure continues to be a public health burden across the world because of its severe effects on people, and in particular, children. High levels of lead exposure affects the brain and central nervous system and can cause convulsions, comas and even death. Children who survive lead poisoning may be left with mental and behavioural disorders. Lower levels of lead exposure is also harmful and can affect brain development and […]
October 10, 2019

Climate Reality Project

During the third quarter of 2018, Dr S Kisting was invited to participate in the “24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves”, live broadcast global event. This event was produced by the Climate Reality Project and was headed by Mr Al Gore, former Deputy President of the USA. Her contribution focused on health and the possible avenues to prevent adverse health outcomes as a result of climate change. In the South African context, the focus was specifically on […]
September 5, 2019

Fungal Disease Awareness Week – 23-27 September 2019

Fungal diseases awareness week highlights the importance of diseases caused by exposure to fungi/moulds in the workplace. It also highlights the importance of preventing exposure and of recognising symptoms or diseases so that workers’ health is protected and improved. Workers spend a substantial fraction of time (~90%) within buildings such as offices; therefore indoor air quality becomes an important risk factor for human health (WHO 2009; Bonetta et al., 2010; Di Giulio et al., 2010). Microbial agents such as fungi/moulds […]
August 30, 2019

Legionella Awareness Day 30th August 2019

Legionella is spread through the air by breathing in very small droplets of water laden with bacteria, from a contaminated water source.  Once inhaled, the bacteria multiply in the lungs causing Legionellosis. Legionellosis is a notifiable disease and must be reported to the local health department and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD). The NIOH provides advice and guidance on workplace legionella prevention. This silent killer is EASILY preventable. Learn more about legionella and how to keep yourself safe […]
May 28, 2019

Working Conditions and Health Outcomes of Caddies Working in Golf Courses in the City of Johannesburg

Caddies are an essential part of the golf industry, which contributes over R58.4 billion to the South African economy. However, caddies are informal workers who are often marginalised. They do not benefit from occupational health and safety regulations or labour laws, have no or limited access to social protection and health care, especially in low to middle income countries. In addition, informal workers have very little control of hazardous exposures in their working environment. Thus, they generally have a higher […]
May 27, 2019

Support for the Universal Labour Guarantee – Fundamental Workers’ Rights

The International Labour Organisations (ILO) Global Commission  on  the  Future  of  Work,  launched  the  report  “Work  for  a Brighter  Future”. In  this  report  the Commission  recommends  establishing a  Universal  Labour  Guarantee. The  Committee  calls  for  a  Universal  Labour Guarantee including fundamental workers’ rights; an “adequate living wage”; limits on hours of work; and, and ensuring safe and healthy workplaces. This proposal allows for safety and health to be recognized as a fundamental principle and right at work. The International Occupational […]
May 23, 2019

World Environment Day – 5 June 2019

May 9, 2019

Focus on: Health & Safety at Work