Workplace Exposure to Bioaerosols in Podiatry Clinics
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Coggins, MA,Hogan, VJ,Kelly, M,Fleming, GTA,Roberts, N,Tynan, T,Thorne, PS (2012) 'Workplace Exposure to Bioaerosols in Podiatry Clinics'. Annals Of Occupational Hygiene, 56 :746-753.
The aim of this study was to design and execute a pilot study to collect information on the personal exposure levels of podiatrists to microbial hazards in podiatry clinics and also to assess health and safety knowledge within the sector using a questionnaire survey.A self-report quantitative questionnaire dealing with health and safety/health issues was issued to 250 podiatrist clinics. Fifteen podiatry clinics were randomly recruited to participate in the exposure study. Concentrations of airborne bacteria, fungi, yeasts, and moulds were assessed using a six-stage viable microbial cascade impactor. Personal samples of total inhalable dust and endotoxin were measured in the breathing zone of the podiatrist.A questionnaire response rate of 42% (N = 101) was achieved. Thirty-two per cent of respondents indicated that they had a respiratory condition; asthma was the most prevalent condition reported. The most frequently employed control measures reported were use of disposable gloves during patient treatments (73.3%), use of respiratory protective equipment (34.6%), use of protective aprons (16.8%), and eye protection (15.8%). A total of 15.8% of respondents used mechanical room ventilation, 47.5% used nail drills with local exhaust ventilation systems, and 11% used nail drills with water spray dust suppression. The geometric mean concentrations of bacteria, Staphylococci, fungi, and yeasts/moulds were 590, 190, 422, and 59 CFU m(-3), respectively. The geometric mean endotoxin exposure was 9.6 EU m(-3). A significant percentage of all the bioaerosols that were in the respirable fraction was representative of yeasts and moulds (65%) and Fungi (87%).Even if statistical analysis of data is limited by low sample numbers, this study showed that the frequency of cleaning and use of RPE varied between clinics sampled, and it is likely that refresher health and safety training focusing on health and safety hazards inherent in podiatry work and practical control measures is warranted.