Month: January 2014

Check Your Hygiene: Ototoxins

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Check Your Hygiene

Did you know that some chemicals can cause Hearing Loss? Exposure to a number of common industrial chemicals and some medications can cause hearing loss or make the effect of noise on hearing worse. These are called ototoxic substances.

How is that possible? Ototoxic substances absorbed into the bloodstream may damage the cochlea in the inner ear and/or the auditory pathways to the brain, leading to hearing loss and tinnitus. Hearing loss is more likely if exposure is to a combination of substances or a combination of the substance and noise.

What are some common ototoxins? Lead, carbon monoxide, ethanol, white spirits, trichloroethylene are just a few. These chemicals are commonly found in painting, printing, boat building, furniture making, manufacturing, leather and petroleum industries.

Where can I go for more info?

 Glad you asked. There are some great resources here and here as a start.

Who is the best person to ask to help me? Ask your friendly Occupational Hygienist!

Nottingham, UK

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Sherwood Forest,Robin Hood Statue. - Picture of Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
This photo of Sherwood Forest is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Apart from the compulsory visit to Sherwood Forest, this great city seems to have a lot on offer…Apparently Nottingham is one of six dedicated Science Cities. I wonder what this means exactly. Can I use acronyms in regular conversation? Do they precisely measure the volume of a medium cappuccino with no sugar to the nearest ml and is the quality repeatable on a daily basis? Do kids at school not have to learn Humanities? Do they run around on electric-powered Segways? Sounds like a wonderful place to me. I am even more excited now.

The first stop…

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bigpreview_Lubeck - Germany
Lubeck, Germany

Is this not the most beautiful city you have seen?  I think it is gorgeous. Has anyone got any hot tips for visiting Germany? Please don’t tell me to ‘speak German’.  Languages were never my strong point (although I can do a mean, ‘I can speak Cantonese I know what you are saying’, and ‘I love my English text book’ in Chinese…but I doubt these will come in handy).

Why Blog?

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Good question.  Why not just go about life off-line. Why do you need to write and why do you want people to read it? Being a scientist, I’m going to take that question as, ‘What is your aim?’. Glad you asked.

Aim No. 1: To increase the profile of Occupational Hygienists. Picture this. I go to the park with my kids and a fellow mum says to me, ‘what do you do for a job?’ I say, ‘Occupational Hygienist’. I watch her eyes glaze over as she pictures me cleaning teeth or cleaning toilets.  The topic changes. I started at the grass roots with my 7-year old and I had her convinced to be an Occupational Hygienist when she grew up for a few months.  Now when she grows up she wants to marry Harry from One-Direction.  I remain hopeful of a change.

Aim No. 2. To encourage others to take up Occupational Hygiene as a career. There aren’t many of us…yet it has to be one of the most interesting and rewarding careers you can have. If more people knew about it, more people would become one!

Aim No. 3. I am lucky enough to travel to the UK in April this year as part of winning an awesome award. I want to show other Occupational Hygienists just how awesome the award is, and of course – thank the wonderful sponsor (Drager) and facilitator (AIOH).

Welcome!

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Well just over a month ago I got up and accepted the Drager Young Hygienist Award at the Annual AIOH Conference. Now all the fun and planning begins on what will be the most exciting professional development exercise I will ever undertake!

In addition to a tour of the Drager headquarters in Lubeck, Germany and attending the annual BOHS Conference in Nottingham, I will meet with some pretty fantastic people such as Kate Jones from the Health and Safety Laboratory and Lawrence Waterman from the ODA and LLDC.

This blog aims to channel the inner ‘young’ person suppressed deep inside a mid-30′s mum of three, and to be a platform for raising the awareness of our profession for it is indeed the #bestjobintheworld

Drager Award