In the last years the number of new forms of workplaces, such as call centers, increases. It is defined as a workstation where the basic tasks of a worker are carried out with the use of a phone and a computer. According to statistics, about 1.3-4% of workers are employed in call centers in the European countries. The noise is one of the harmful and annoying hazards of call center workstations. The paper presents the noise sources in call center rooms, assessment criteria of noise and results of noise measurements in call center workstations. The results of measurements show that the noise at call center workstations (during the use of handset receiver phone by operators) can be harmful (causing the risk of hearing loss) and annoying, as it makes it difficult to carry out the basic work activities and causes additionally auditory disadvantageous changes in health.
Landscape is an object of perception, while its image is the sum of ideas on this object. Both terms used in the title of the paper have fairly strong impact on each other. In order to manage the city’s image well, it is necessary to take care of the landscape in all its areas especially in the “forgotten” and degraded ones. The aim of the author was to identify elements of landscape exposure along railway lines – areas with low aesthetic value in many cities around the world. The research area includes railway lines, in Cracow and Wrocław. The method adopted for the implementation of the study is the analysis of mental maps made in 2018 during field workshops. The paper is ended by conclusions on the landscape impact on the image of the city.
During work, earth-moving machines generate significant levels of noise and vibration that can be harmful for the operators; therefore the analysis of the noise and vibration conditions at the driving position is of great importance for the risk assessment. Compact loaders have become a pressing challenge as they are extremely hazardous referring to noise and vibration emissions, especially in their crawler version where further relevant noise and vibration are generated by the hard contact between track belt and ground. This paper reports the results of investigations carried out on three crawler compact loaders in different operating conditions. The main purpose was to investigate the noise and vibration values transmitted to the operators in some working conditions and use these data to obtain reliable estimates of the exposure to noise, to whole-body and to hand-arm transmitted vibrations, as well as to evaluate the related risk levels. Vibration signals transmitted to the operator were acquired on the seat and the machine control lever in accordance with the procedures specified in ISO 2631-1 and ISO 5349-1. At the same time, noise signals were acquired at the operator’s ear following the procedure reported in ISO 11201. Vibration signals were also acquired on the cabin floor with the main purpose to evaluate the effectiveness of the machine seats in reducing the vibration transmission. Finally, the noise and vibration exposure risks were evaluated on the basis of the health and safety requirements established in 2003/10/EC and 2002/44/EC Directives.
The aim of the study was to determine the configuration of pathologic audiograms in patients with excessive noise exposure, and to calculate the frequency of notches in the audiogram in patients with and without excessive noise exposure by avoiding the effect of age-related hearing loss. We have analyzed 514 audiograms of 257 patients aged between 20 to 50 years: 240 patients (mean age of 38.7 years) with excessive noise exposure and 17 patients (mean age of 41.2 years) with notches in the audiogram, but without a history of excessive noise exposure. For statistical data analysis we have used the Chi-square test and Fisher exact test with the level of significance p < 0.05. Pathologic audiograms were classified into five different types: Slope at 4000 Hz (0.8%), Slope at 2000 Hz (15.1%), Notch at 4000 Hz (67.4%), Notch at 2000 Hz (0.8%), Flat (8.9%), and 7% were out of this classification. A total of 190 (79.2%) patients with excessive noise exposure had a notch in the audiogram. Left ear notches were the most common. Among the patients with notched audiograms, 91.8% had a history of excessive noise exposure, either occupational or nonoccupational, and 8.2% did not report any excessive noise exposure.
The use of ultrasonic energy has created versatile possibilities of their applications in many areas of life, especially in hydro location and underwater telecommunications, industry and medicine. The consequence of a widespread use of high intensity ultrasonics in technology is the increased number of people who are exposed to such ultrasonic noise. Therefore it is important to determine the types of machines and other devices that are responsible for the emission of ultrasonic noise (10-40 kHz of central frequencies of one-third octave bands) as harmful and annoying hazard in the work environment. This paper presents ultrasonic noise sources frequently used in industry and preventive measures reducing the exposure to ultrasonic noise. Two types of ultrasonic noise sources have been distinguished: machines and other devices used to carry out or improve production processes, the so-called technological sources and sources in which ultrasonic noise exists as a non-intentional result of operation of many machines and systems, the so-called non-technological sources of ultrasonic noise. The emission of SPL has been determined for each groups of devices based on own measurement results.
The paper consists of study results of exposure to high frequency noise at metalworking workplaces. The study was carried out using objective methods (measurements of parameters characterizing the noise) and subjective studies (questionnaire survey). Metalworking workplaces were located in a steel structure (e.g. deck gratings) of the manufacturing plant. The results are equivalent sound pressure levels in the 1/3 octave frequency bands with center frequencies from 10 kHz to 40 kHz in reference to an 8-hour workday equal to approximately 81-105 dB at most of the tested workplaces and exceed permissible values. The questionnaire survey of annoyance high frequency noise (i.e. in the audible frequency and low ultrasound range) was conducted among 52 operators of machines. Most of the workers describe the noise as: buzzing, insistent, whistling and high-pitched squeaky. Respondents specify the noise levels occurring at workplaces as: loud, impeding communication, highly strenuous and tiring.
Fruit and vegetables constitute an essential part of human diet and that is why they should be “safe”. Chemical contaminants of plant origin in food, including the pesticide residues, are defined as critical differentiators of quality and food safety. Pesticide residues are found in fruits, vegetables, cereals and herbs chemically protected at low concentrations, but they are one of the elements that affect the quality of healthcare. The aim of this study was to assess the pesticide residues in apples from the north-eastern Poland (Lubelskie, Podlaskie and Warmińsko-Mazurskie provinces) and get an answer whether any contamination in fruit from the region is similar to that in other countries and whether it can lead to exposure of consumer’s health. Also assessed compliance of used pesticides with applicable law and found residues were compared with the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs). The study showed that 59% of the samples of apples from the north-eastern Poland contain pesticide residues below the MRL, and 7% above the limits. The estimated dietary intake has shown the chronic dietary exposure of the most vulnerable groups - children and adults to the pesticide residues in Polish apples was relatively low and does not constitute a health risk to. The results show that apples from north-eastern Poland are safe.
The aim of this project was to create a ranking of the nursery schools in Wrocław with regard to the quality of the acoustic environment on their premises, using a specially developed evaluation methodology. Each nursery school was rated according to an adopted grading scale on the basis of the noise level distribution on the playground and on the nursery school building facades. Using the grading scale one can classify nursery school premises into twelve categories characterized by different acoustic environment quality, from exceptionally good (< 45 dB) to exceptionally bad (> 70 dB). The appropriately rescaled data from the acoustic map of Wrocław and the authors' own measurements and simulation analyses were used. The developed methodology was verified by comparing the ratings yielded by it with those determined on the basis of field measurements and simulation studies, carried out for several selected nursery schools. The paper presents the results of an acoustic environment quality assessment carried out, using the developed investigative methodology, for 118 nursery schools located in Wrocław.
A dynamic economy contributes to the increase in the number of workers exposed to mechanical vibration caused by machines and transport equipment. As the means of transport are insufficiently recognised sources of mechanical vibrations, this article presents the results of whole-body and hand-arm vibration tests of 30 most common means of in-house transport. An analysis of vibration signals recorded at each workstation according to PN-EN 14253 and PN-EN ISO 5349 made it possible to determine the weighted values of components of directional vibration acceleration and the values of daily vibration exposure A(8). In order to assess exposure to whole-body and hand-arm vibration at the tested workstations of in-house transport, indices of vibration hazard related to admissible values, the total evaluation index (developed in a previous study at CIOP-PIB) and a three-degrees scale for assessing exposure to vibrations were used. The assessment showed that the workstations were a major hazard. Vibration hazards at all those workstations were classified as either medium or high.
Faculty of Natural and Technical Sciences and Faculty of Medical Sciences starting from December 2012, launched joint study in order to investigate personal noise exposure and associated health effects in general school teachers population, starting from kindergartens up to high schools in Stip, Macedonia. In order to determine workplace associated noise exposure and associated health effects in this specific profession, a full shift noise exposure of 40 teachers from 1 kindergarten, 2 primary and 2 high schools were measured in real conditions using noise dosimeters. A-weighted equivalent-continuous sound pressure levels (LAeq) of each teacher were recorded during single activities (classes). Normalized 8-hours exposure, termed the noise exposure level (Lex;8 h) was also computed. Daily noise dose is another descriptor for noise exposure that was determined as a measure of the total sound energy to which workers have been exposed, as a result of working in the varying noise levels. Health effects were assessed trough a full scale epidemiological study which included 231 teachers from the same schools. Specific questionnaire was used to extract information about subject’s perception on occupational noise exposure, as well as theirs occupational and medical history.
Infrasounds are very common in the natural environment. There are various opinions about their harmfulness or lack of harmfulness. One of the reasons of increasing interest in this issue is that there are more and more wind farms appearing close to building estates which are undoubtedly a source of infrasound. It is reasonable to present the results of research of infrasound noise connected not only with wind farms. In this study own results of research of infrasound noise related to daily human activity are presented. The measurements were carried out during housework, travel to the office or shop, and during shopping. The results are shown in the form of values of equivalent levels and 1/3-octave analyses. Taking into consideration the natural sources of infrasound in the environment, the measurements were conducted during both windy and windless weather. On the basis of the results of the measurements it was possible to define the daily exposure to infrasound noise. Those results were also compared with the available in the literature threshold values sensed by people. Estimated level of exposure to noise beyond workplace together with the level of exposure to noise at work enables to define daily exposure level, which means a better assessment of risk of health loss. Increasing social awareness of acoustic threat in everyday life allows us to identify the problem and at the same time improve the quality of rest and efficiency at work.
The present study aimed to determine the role of job components and individual parameters on the raised blood pressure among male workers of textile industry who were exposed to continuous high noise level. Information of all eligible subjects including demographic and individual characteristics, medical history and job characteristics were obtained by direct interview and referring to the medical records. All blood pressure measurements were done using mercury sphygmomanometer in the morning before work. The 8-hours equivalent A-weighted sound pressure level, the level of blood cholesterol and triglyceride, and noise annoyance was determined for each worker. As the result of weighted regression in path analysis (direct effect), only the work shift did not have a significant effect on blood pressure among the studied variables. It can be seen that variables including the level of triglyceride, cholesterol, and noise exposure have the most direct effects on blood pressure. The results of total effects showed that variables, including using the hearing protection device, age, work experience and visibility of sound source, did not have a significant effect on blood pressure. The results of this study indicate that occupational noise exposure alone and combined with other job components and individual parameters is associated with raised blood pressure. However, noise exposure was probably a stronger stressor for increased blood pressure.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the hearing status of call centre operators in relation to their noise exposure. Conventional pure-tone audiometry and extended high-frequency audiometry were performed in 49 workers, aged 22–47 years (mean ± SD: 32.0 ± 6.0 years), working in call centre from 1.0 to 16.5 years (mean ± SD: 4.7 ± 2.9 years). Questionnaire inquiry aimed at collecting personal data, the information on ommunication headset usage habits, self-assessment of hearing ability and identification of risk factors for noise-induced hearing loss were also carried out. Sound pressure levels generated by the communication headset were determined using the artificial ear technique specified in CSA Z107.56-13 (2013) standard. The background noise prevailing in offices was also measured according to PN-N-01307 (1994) and PN-EN ISO 9612 (2011). Personal daily noise exposure levels in call centre operators varied from 66 to 86 dB (10–90th percentile). About half of the study subjects had normal hearing in the standard frequencies (from 250 to 8000 Hz) in both ears, while only 27.1% in the extended high-frequencies (9–16 kHz). Moreover, both high-frequency and speech-frequency hearing losses were observed in less than 10% of audiograms, while the extended high-frequency threshold shift was noted in 37.1% of analysed ears. The hearing threshold levels of call centre operators in the frequency of 0.25–11.2 kHz were higher (worse) than the expected median values for equivalent (due to age and gender) highly screened population specified in ISO 7029 (2017). Furthermore, they were also higher than predicted for 500–4000 Hz according to ISO 1999 (2013) based on the results of noise exposure evaluation.
Alcohol is a recognized teratogen that affects various aspects of fetal development. Tissue that is particularly susceptible to its teratogenicity is neuronal tissue. The effect of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) on the central nervous system has been extensively studied, yet the knowledge on the influence of PAE on the autonomic nervous system is scarce. The purpose of this article is to review the current state of knowledge about the impact of PAE on the autonomic nervous system. Studies conducted on the PAE animal model have shown that prenatal alcohol exposure is associated with significant alterations in the autonomic nervous system, but the mechanisms and consequences are not yet clearly defined. It was established that PAE causes decreased heart rate variability (HRV) in fetal cardiotocography. Several studies have revealed that later, in infancy and childhood, reduced parasympathetic activity with or without compensating sympathetic activity is observed. This may result in behavioral and attention disorders, as well as an increased predisposition to sudden infant death syndrome. Both animal and human studies indicate that the relationship between PAE and autonomic dysfunction exists, however large, well-designed, prospective studies are needed to confirm the causal relationship and characterize the nature of the observed changes.
The tests reported in this paper were carried out to evaluate the exposure of soldiers to noise at operator and control positions during military field exercises. The tests were conducted during firing from a T-72 tank, a BWP-1 Infantry Fighting Vehicle, antitank guided missiles, a ZU-23-2K anti-aircraft gun, and a 2S1 GOZDZIK howitzer. The evaluation of noise exposure showed that the limit values of sound pressure level, referred to by both Polish occupational noise protection standards and the Pfander and Dancer hearing damage risk criteria developed for military applications, were repeatedly exceeded at the tested positions. Despite of the use of tank crew headgear, the exposure limit values of sound pressure level were exceeded for the crew members of the T-72 tank, the BWP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, and the 2S1 GOZDZIK howitzer. The results show that exposure of soldiers to noise during military field exercises is a potentially high hearing risk factor.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) levels in environmental media have increased over the last 20-25 years in the world. In aquatic environments PBDEs were found to be accumulated along food chain and Endocrine disruptors toxicity. In this study PBDEs were investigated in sediment and fish tissues from Lake Chaohu in central eastern China. There were 10 PBDEs congeners detected out of all 41 PBDEs. BDE-47 was of the highest with 5.17 ng/g in sediment and 58.47 ng/g in fish. PBDEs were evenly distributed across the surface sediment in the whole lake. It implied that the main source of PBDEs may not be an inflow river like Nanfei. Tissue distribution patterns of PBDEs in four fish species were in the order of BDE-47 > BDE-99 > BDE-100 > BDE-66 > BDE-138 > BDE-183 > BDE-154 > BDE-153. Octa- and deca-BDEs were below the detection limit. The concentrations of all PBDE congeners were higher in gills, livers, and kidneys than those in muscles and adipose tissue. Furthermore, PBDEs in different tissues had some different distribution patterns with fish size. Those discrepancies appeared to be correlated with the PBDEs pollution fluxes varying with the change of the year and their metabolism divergences in fish tissues.
Pure-tone audiometry (PTA) and transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) were determined in 57 classical orchestral musicians along with a questionnaire inquiry using a modified Amsterdam Inventory for Auditory Disability and Handicap ((m)AIADH). Data on musicians' working experience and sound pressure levels produced by various groups of instruments were also collected. Measured hearing threshold levels (HTLs) were compared with the theoretical predictions calculated according to ISO 1999:1990. High frequency notched audiograms typical for noise-induced hearing loss were found in 28% of the subjects. PTA and TEOAE consistently showed a tendency toward better hearing in females vs. males, younger vs. older subjects, and lower- vs. higher-exposed to orchestral noise subjects. Audiometric HTLs were better than theoretical predictions in the frequency range of 2000-4000 Hz. The (m)AIADH scores indicated some hearing difficulties in relation to intelligibility in noisy environment in 26% of the players. Our results indicated a need to implement a hearing conservation program for this professional group.
The overall purpose of this study was to assess hearing status in professional orchestral musicians. Standard pure-tone audiometry (PTA) and transient-evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) were per- formed in 126 orchestral musicians. Occupational and non-occupational risk factors for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) were identified in questionnaire inquiry. Data on sound pressure levels produced by various groups of instruments were also collected and analyzed. Measured hearing threshold levels (HTLs) were compared with the theoretical predictions calculated according to ISO 1999 (1990). Musicians were exposed to excessive sound at weekly noise exposure levels of for 81-100 dB (mean: 86.6±4.0 dB) for 5-48 years (mean: 24.0±10.7 years). Most of them (95%) had hearing corresponds to grade 0 of hearing impairment (mean hearing threshold level at 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 Hz lower than 25 dB). However, high frequency notched audiograms typical for noise-induced hearing loss were found in 35% of cases. Simultaneously, about 35% of audiograms showed typical for NIHL high frequency notches (mainly occurring at 6000 Hz). When analyzing the impact of age, gender and noise exposure on hearing test results both PTA and TEOAE consistently showed better hearing in females vs. males, younger vs. older musicians. But higher exposure to orchestral noise was not associated with poorer hearing tests results. The musician’s audiometric hearing threshold levels were poorer than equivalent non-noise-exposed population and better (at 3000 and 4000 Hz) than expected for noise-exposed population according to ISO 1999 (1990). Thus, music impairs hearing of orchestral musicians, but less than expected from noise exposure.
The study is aimed to quantify the effects of social noise exposure (personal music players (PMP), events with high noise exposure) and the exposure to the other environmental noise sources in the selected sample of Slovak university students. The validated ICBEN methodology was used to assess noise annoyance. The measurement of ambient noise levels was done using hand-held sound level analyzer. There were 526 university students (143 males and 383 females, average age 23±2.2) enrolled into the study so far, 192 in the exposed housing facility to road traffic noise and 326 in the control housing facility in Bratislava. The social noise exposure was quantified and followed according to the authorized methodology of the study Ohrkan. From the total sample 416 (79.4%) students reported the use of PMP in the last week for the average time of 314 minutes. There was a significant difference in PMP use between the exposed (85.34%) and the control group (76.31%) (p = 0.01). Among PMP users 28.1% exceeded the LAV (lower action value for industry = 80 dB). The results showed the importance of road traffic and the social noise as well and the need for prevention and intervention in these vulnerable groups.
Simultaneous measurements of the indoor and outdoor particle mass (PM) and particle number (PN) concentrations as well as the air temperature, relative humidity (RH), and CO2 concentrations have been conducted in 6 occupied (L) and unoccupied (V) classrooms in 3 secondary schools in Lublin, Poland, in the heating (H) and summer (S) seasons. The schools were located in residential areas where the majority of private houses are heated by means of coal-burning stoves. The ratios of the average particle concentrations in occupied and unoccupied classrooms (L/V) were higher during the heating season measurements. The ratios of the average particle concentrations during the measurements in the heating and summer seasons (H/S) were higher in occupied classrooms. In both seasons the average PM and PN concentrations amounted to 239 μg/m3 and 7.4×103/cm3 in the occupied classrooms, and to 76 μg/m3 and 5.4×103/cm3 in the unoccupied classrooms, respectively. The particle exposures experienced by students were higher in the monitored classrooms than outdoors and were on average about 50% higher in the heating than in the summer season. A positive correlation between mass concentrations of coarse particles and indoor air temperature, RH and CO2 concentrations in both seasons was observed. The concentrations of fine particles were negatively correlated with the indoor air parameters in the heating season, and positively correlated in the summer season.
Uranium concentrations in groundwater taken from private drilled wells have been never determined in Poland, implying a lack of available data to quantify the human exposure to U through drinking water consumption, especially in rural areas influenced by mining activities. The main aim of the study was the assessment of human health risk related to the consumption of well waters containing U, collected from selected rural areas of the Lower Silesian region (Poland). The random daytime (RDT) sampling method was applied to the collection of well waters from three control study areas (CSA): Mniszków (CSA-A), Stara Kamienica/M. Kamienica/Kopaniec (CSA-B) and Kletno (CSA-C). The analyses of RDT samples were performed by validated method based on inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Uranium concentration ranges in well waters and the estimated geometric means for individual control study areas were: 0.005-1.03 μg/L and 0.052 μg/L (CSA-A), 0.027-10.6 μg/L and 0.40 μg/L (CSA-B), and 0.006-27.1 μg/L and 0.38 μg/L (CSA-C). The average and individual chronic daily intakes (CDI) of U by drinking water pathway (adults/children) were in the ranges of: 0.0017-0.013/0.0052-0.040 μg · kg-1 · day-1 and 0.0002-0.90/0.0005-2.71 μg · kg-1 · day-1. The average %TDI and ranges of individual %TDI (adults/children) were: 0.17%/0.52% and 0.02-3.4%/0.05-10.3% (CSA-A), 1.3%/4.0% and 0.09-35%/0.27-106% (CSA-B), and 1.3%/3.8% and 0.02-90%/0.06-271% (CSA-C). The estimated average CDI values of U through well water are significantly lower than the TDI (1 μg · kg-1 · day-1), while for individual CDI values the contribution to the TDI can reach even 90% (adults) and 271% (children), indicating essential human health risk for children consuming well water from private drilled wells located in CSA-B and CSA-C (5.3% of total number of samples collected).