AJPH News Release
EMBARGOED UNTIL June 18, 2009, 4 PM (ET)
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The articles below will be published online June 18, 2009, at 4 p.m. (ET) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look” at http://www.ajph.org/first_look.shmtl, and they are currently scheduled to appear in the August 2009 print issue of the Journal. “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association, www.apha.org, and is available at www.ajph.org. To stay up to date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new Journal content e-mail alerts at http://www.ajph.org/subscriptions/etoc.shtml>ck=nck.
American Journal of Public Health
· Riding the subway may be harmful to our hearing
· Sensory impairment among older U.S. workers raises risk of injury
· Women’s first-trimester working conditions impact infant birthweight
Riding the subway may be harmful to our hearing
Riders of mass transit are exposed to noise at levels that may exceed recommended limits, and thus may experience noise-induced hearing loss given sufficient exposure duration times, reports a new study.
Researchers evaluated the noise levels of a representation of New York City mass transit systems (subways, buses, ferries, tramways and commuter railways) during June and July 2007. Subway cars and platforms had the highest associated equivalent continuous average and maximum noise levels, but all systems showed some potential for noise exposure.
The study’s authors suggest, “Engineering noise-control efforts, including increased transit infrastructure maintenance and the use of quieter equipment, should be given priority over use of hearing protection, which requires rider motivation and knowledge of how and when to wear it.” [From: “Noise Levels Associated with New York City’s Mass Transit Systems.” Contact: Richard Neitzel, MS, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, firstname.lastname@example.org].
Sensory impairment among older U.S. workers raises risk of injury
A new study analyzing the prevalence of sensory impairment among older U.S. workers found that hearing impairment prevalence was three times that of visual impairment, and that 38 percent of older workers reported experiencing either impairment.
Using 1997-2004 national survey data, researchers evaluated the prevalence of sensory impairment among U.S. workers age 65 years and older. Farm operators, mechanics and motor vehicle operators had the highest prevalence of sensory impairment.
The study’s authors conclude, “Our findings suggest a need for preventative measures among potentially vulnerable worker groups with sensory impairment. Research is needed to determine whether sensory aids and other workplace accommodations enhance worker productivity and job satisfaction as well as reduce injury risk.” [From: “Sensory Impairment among Older U.S. Workers.” Contact: David J. Lee, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Fla., email@example.com].
Women’s first-trimester working conditions impact infant birthweight
A new study shows that high levels of job strain during early pregnancy are associated with reduced birthweight and an increased risk of delivering a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infant.
A sample of 8,266 pregnant women in Amsterdam, Netherlands, completed a questionnaire gathering information on employment and working conditions. Researchers found that a workweek of 32 hours or more and high job strain were significantly associated with birthweight. The combination of high job strain and a long workweek resulted in the largest birthweight reduction and the highest risk of delivering an SGA infant.
The study’s authors suggest, “Although pregnant women typically reduce their working hours or workloads at the end of their pregnancy, our results suggest that reducing job strain and working hours in the initial stages of pregnancy may be beneficial among women with stressful full-time jobs.” [From: “First-Trimester Working Conditions and Birthweight: A Prospective Cohort Study.” Contact: Tanja Vrikotte, PhD, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands, firstname.lastname@example.org].