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Year: 2004  Vol. 8   Num. 3  - July/Sept Print:
Texto Text in Portuguese
Occupational Exposure to Noise and Industrial Chemicals and Their Effects on the Auditory System: Revision of Literature
Exposio Ocupacional ao Rudo e Qumicos Industriais e seus Efeitos no Sistema Auditivo: Reviso da Literatura
Andra Pires de Mello*, William Waismann**.
Key words:
hearing loss, noise, occupational exposure, chemicals products, solvents.

Introduction: On account of its undeniable importance, noise has been dealt with almost exclusively in the approaches relating to the auditory health of workers. However, when considering occupational hearing loss, one ought to recognize the potential of other agents and their possible interaction with noise, thus affecting the auditory health of workers. There is evidence not only that chemical products may lead to hearing loss, regardless of the presence of noise, but also that the interaction between noise and chemical products might lead to a greater hearing loss than that which results from the exposure to either noise or the chemical product alone. In other words, there could be a synergism between both agents. Among these chemical products one finds solvents, asphyxiants and metals. Objective: This study aims to review the subject under discussion as well as draw attention to failures in Hearing Conservation Programmes which focus exclusively on occupational noise. Conclusion: In Brazil, the specific labor legislation does not require that workers exposed to chemical products should be submitted to periodic audiograms, unless they are exposed to levels of noise above the limits of exposure allowed. Institutions such as NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), ACGIH (American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists) and the American Army have recommended, since 1998, monitoring the hearing ability of workers exposed to certain chemical products. More recently the European Parliament has also suggested that Hearing Conservation Programmes should be modified to meet the needs of workers exposed to chemical risks.



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