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Introduction to chemical and biological factors and health at work

Introduction to chemical and biological factors and health at work

This week consists of four topics, each followed by discussion and a quiz.

Biological factors

These days, biological factors in our environment are of interest for almost everyone – exemplified by the novel coronavirus (nCoV). Different types of biological factors are encountered in a wide range of work places, and the virus is one of them. We will tell you about different kinds of biological factors, different health effects and describe occupations where exposures to biological exposures are abundant. We will also tell you how to avoid adverse health effects from these factors, including vaccination.

Chemical intoxications

In this session we will give some examples of occupational chemical intoxications. We will discuss different chemical exposures and health effects related to welding which is a process that is carried out in thousands of workplaces worldwide. We will also present occupational exposure and intoxications caused by lead and mercury. In addition this session will also discuss Occupational Exposure Limits (OEL) and biomonitoring, and how these methods could be used in surveillance of the work environment and in assessing workers exposure to chemicals.

Pesticide intoxications

After this session, you will know what pesticides are, what pesticides are used for, know how workers become exposed to pesticides, know that pesticides may cause serious health problems, and be able to discuss examples of how to prevent these problems. You will also know some details on the pesticides called acetylcholinesterase inhibitors.

Intoxications from organic solvents

After this session, you will know what an organic solvent is and how these solvents may cause adverse health effects, especially in the brain and nervous system. You will be able to understand the mechanism for these health effects in the body, what types of work that causes a risk of organic solvent exposure, how we can evaluate the risk factors and how the workers can be protected to avoid adverse health effects from these substances.

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Occupational Health in Developing Countries

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