Exposure to both epoxy adhesives and noise increases the risk of hearing loss in workers by 42%, a study has found.
Hearing loss in workers exposed to epoxy adhesives is exacerbated in noisy environments. The hearing losses occurred especially in the middle and high frequencies.
Workers who are exposed to both epoxy adhesives and high noise levels have a higher risk of hearing loss than workers who are only exposed to noise. This is the conclusion of a cross-sectional study conducted among Taiwanese stone workers.
Among the workers who were exposed to both epoxy adhesives and noise, the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss was considerably increased (42%) compared to those who were only exposed to noise (21%).
Epoxy is created by polymerizing a mixture of two starting compounds, the resin and the hardener. Epoxy adhesives contain organic solvents and are widely used in different industries e.g. in the stone industry, where the workers are also exposed to high levels of noise.
Epoxy has a wide range of applications, including metal coatings, use in electronics/electrical components, high tension electrical insulators, fibre-reinforced plastic materials and structural adhesives.
About the study
The study obtained demographic data, occupational history and medical history through face-to-face interviews with 314 stone workers in Taiwan as well as through arranged physical examinations and pure-tone audiometric tests. The study also conducted walk-through surveys in the stone industry.
The study was published in BMJ Open.
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