Volunteers needed for occupational health study
A research group at Queen Mary University of London are conducting a study on welder health.
It has been known for years that welders are more susceptible to respiratory disease due to their exposure to welding fumes.
The research group at Queen Mary is trying to understand why exactly this is and how welders can be better protected.
This study, approved by an NHS research ethics committee, focuses on understanding if we can take a small sample from the nose and work out if an individual is more susceptible to respiratory infection and thus protect them against it.
Reetika Suri, postdoctoral researcher on the project explained how studies in the UK and other parts of the world have found that welders are at higher risk of contracting pneumococcal pneumonia – an acute lung infection most commonly caused by bacteria that can commonly be found in most people’s noses. She explained that problems and disease can occur when it travels from the nose into the lower airway.
Using a minimally invasive method of sampling, Reetika plans to study whether certain receptors in the airways of welders present them with a higher risk of being infected.
A vaccine against this type of pneumonia is available, and the team at Queen Mary hope that by gathering enough evidence they can support a vaccine to all welders at the start of their working lives.
Reetika said: “Using a combination of lab-based studies and minimally invasive studies in welders, I’m aiming to gather enough scientific evidence to improve occupational health practice.
“I’m keen to collaborate with occupational health professionals, employers and welders so that the research is communicated to and reaches the appropriate audience and can have the intended impact.”
How you can help
The team at Queen Mary are looking for non-smoking welders to volunteer to be part of the study.
Welders must be non-smoking, because it’s known that smoking causes respiratory disease and the study wants to discover if welding by itself also does.
Volunteers must be able to travel to London to provide a sample (nasal and saliva). The sampling takes about 30 minutes and it’s processed the same day.
The team will cover travel expenses up to £100 + compensation of £100.
If you have any questions, or are interested in taking part, email Reetika Suri [email protected]
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