The use of antibiotics in the dairy industry

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The use of antibiotics in the dairy industry

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27 February 2020

The use of antibiotics in the dairy industry

 

The use of antibiotics in the dairy industry

In this month’s Randox Food Diagnostics blog, we look at the dairy industry and their use of antibiotics.

Antibiotics are used in the dairy industry routinely for pure preventative purposes. Due to poor conditions and hygiene, it is common that cattle will become infected which results in loss of milk yield and beef. Antibiotics are used to alleviate and prevent further suffering from potential zoonotic diseases.

Antibiotics are administered to cattle through a blanket use practice, within a herd to ensure all are treated. Once administered to the animal they must be given a ‘dry’ period when the dairy cattle are allowed to rest between lactations. This lasts roughly around 60 days in which a herd cannot be milked to ensure the antibiotics are out of the cattle’s milk. This however is at a cost to the farmer and cattle cannot be rushed back into milking too soon after administration.

To support the global dairy industry, and to help dairy processors monitor their use of antibiotics, Randox Food have developed the most comprehensive testing methods for milk.

The InfiniPlex for Milk Array is the world’s first screening technology that allows users to test for 130+ contaminants in milk in under 22 minutes. In addition to testing for antibiotics, InfiniPlex can detect anti-parasitic, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic drug residues from a single sample using patented Biochip Array Technology.

Available on both the Evidence Investigator, a semi-automated system, capable of analysing up to 48 samples in under 2 hours and the Evidence MultiSTAT, a fully automated system that delivers results from a single neat sample of milk in under 22 minutes.

If you are a centralised laboratory, internal surveillance programme, low throughput laboratory or a dairy processor we have the perfect solution for your testing needs.

For more information on the antibiotic screening arrays available, contact info@randoxfooddiagnostics.com to find out how Randox Food can simplify your screening practices today.

Want to know more?

Contact us or visit our Randox Food Diagnostics website.

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Illicit drugs costs the USA more than $740 billion annually

News       About Us        Randox Toxicology

18 February 2020

 

 

Illicit drugs affecting the US economy

 

Illicit drugs costs the USA more than $740 billion annually

The abuse of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs is extremely costly to the USA, exacting more than $740 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

A substantial number of 70,237 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2017. Opioids are currently the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in some 47,600 overdose deaths in 2017 (67.8% of all drug overdose deaths).

In 2017, the states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and Kentucky. States with statistically significant increases in drug overdose death rates from 2016 to 2017 included Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Randox Toxicology are first to market when it comes to testing for the latest drugs of abuse and new psychoactive substances on the market.  Our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology provides state-of-the-art drug detection, utilizing simultaneous drug detection from a single sample across multiple matrices.

To find out more join us at AAFS February 17-22, Anaheim Convention Center, booth #508. Our reps Pankaj, Khushbu and Matt will be there demonstrating our Biochip technology and our Evidence MultiSTAT.

You can also email us at: info@randoxtoxicology.com or visit our website: www.randoxtoxicology.com

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Coronavirus: A Global Health Emergency of International Concern

7 February 2020

Coronavirus: A Global Health Emergency of International Concern

There is still a lot unknown about the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), however, current knowledge is mostly based on the intel of existing coronaviruses including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) 1. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019-nCoV a global health emergency of international concern. The WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated: “The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China but because of what is happening in other countries. Our greatest concern is the potential for this virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, which are ill-prepared to deal with it” 2.

WHO recommend educating all and increasing knowledge of the 2019-nCoV. The aim of this article is to provide further information on the 2019-nCoV to aid in combatting the mass hysteria through education.

About the 2019-nCoV

The 2019-nCoV belongs to a large family of respiratory viruses with illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. 2019-nCoV is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans 3. Coronaviruses are common in a variety of animal species including: bats, cats, cattle and camels 1. Coronaviruses are zoonotic which means the virus can be transmitted between animals and humans. SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats and MERS-CoV was transmitted from dromedary camels 3. Zoonotic viruses are commonplace with approximately 60% of current infectious diseases and 75% of all emerging infectious diseases in humans being zoonotic according to the UNEP Frontiers 2019 Report: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern, with approximately one new infectious disease emerging in humans every four months 4.

2019-nCoV Transmission & Prevention

The exact origin of the 2019-nCoV is unknown and the analysis of the genetic trees of this virus is ongoing, however ‘it is important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on continuum’. Currently, it is unclear on how contagious the 2019-nCoV is 5. It is believed that the spread of the 2019-nCoV virus is similar to that of other respiratory pathogens (influenza). It is believed that the spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs and lands in the mouth or noses or possibly inhaled into the lunch of people nearby (about 6 feet). It is unclear at this time if the 2019-nCoV can be caught via touching surfaces or objects that have the virus and then touching their nose, mouth and possibly eyes.

It is important to understand that the transmissibility and severity of viruses vary and there is still much to learn about the 2019-nCoV 6. Whilst there is no vaccine to prevent the transmissibility of the 2019-nCoV, daily steps can be taken to aid in the prevention of the spread, similar to that of respiratory infections in general 7:

1. Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after using the toilet, before eating, after blowing your nose, sneezing and coughing.

2. If soap and/or water is not readily available, alcohol-based (minimum 60% alcohol) hand sanitisers can be used.

3. Avoid toughing mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed hands.

4. Avoid close contact with those who are sick.

5. Stay at home when you are sick.

6. Always cover coughs and sneezing with a tissue and discard in a bin.

7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning wipe or spray.

It is vitally important to get tested if you believe you have the 2019-nCoV which can aid in preventing the further transmissibility of the virus.

Randox Coronavirus Arrays

Randox are developing a rapid test for the 2019-nCoV which will utilise the Randox Biochip Technology, with results available within 3 hours on the Vivalytic and with 5 hours on the Randox Evidence Investigator.

The Randox Novel Coronavirus Array detects the 2019-nCoV strain quickly and accurately, enabling effective and accurate medical protocols to be actioned.

The Randox Extended Coronavirus Array encompasses multiple strains of the coronaviruses including: 2019-nCoV, 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKUI. The wider panel provides a comprehensive coronavirus screening panel, enabling effective and accurate medical protocols to be actioned.

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Why is testing for Tartaric Acid important in winemaking?

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31 January 2020

Tartaric Acid testing in winemaking

 

Why is testing for Tartaric Acid important in winemaking?

Tartaric Acid is a unique acid that is not commonly found in fruit, however it is a primary acid component in grapes. It is one key acid that is monitored during the fermentation process as it plays a vital role in the stability of the wine and its pH levels.

Tartaric acid combines with Potassium to create Potassium Titrate which then precipitate and causes the acidity to drop and the pH levels to rise. It is found in significant concentrations in grapes, but this can vary based on factors including the variety of grape and the vineyard soil content.

Tartaric acid plays a key role in the stability of wines and influences the taste, colour and odour of the final product. A high tartaric content in a final bottled wine is indicative of the wine being unstable, due to this, it is important for winemakers to monitor the levels of this acid present in wine.

Generally, it has been recognised that between 0.5-10 g/l is the average acceptable level and the Randox Food Diagnostics kit for measuring tartaric acid allows winemakers to measure between to this range.

Randox Food Diagnostics offer multiple tests for wine analysis including Tartaric Acid on both the RX misano and the RX monaco.

Method No. of Tests Catalogue No. Sensitivity Linearity
Manual 50 TK4060 N/A N/A
RX misano 100 TK4060 0.51 g/l 10.00 g/l
RX Monaco N/A TK4060 On request On request

For more information on wine and other food testing please contact us at: info@randoxfooddiagnostics.com

 

 

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The 2019 World Drug Report from Randox Toxicology

News       About Us        Randox Toxicology

24 January 2020

 

2019 World Drug Report

In the turn of the new year, Randox Toxicology have compiled a 2019 report of trends in drug abuse throughout the world and what the key figures say about drug use in the world.

Opioids

An easy way of seeing how prevalent opioid use is, is the number of opioid overdose deaths. While surveys show an overall decline in the non-medical use of opioids, opioid related deaths continue to increase. The United States recorded the highest number of opioid overdose deaths at over 28,000. Europe is not as heavily affected by opioid use, an example being Sweden. Sweden has the highest number of opioid overdose deaths in Europe, at 590.

Cocaine

Global seizures rose to 1,275 tons, the largest quantity ever reported. This figure highlights the increase in cocaine trafficking. With an estimated 4.2 million people (1.3 per cent of the population) using cocaine, usage of the drug was highest in Western and Central Europe, which accounted for some 90 per cent of all the cocaine use in Europe as a whole.

In Australia, 2.5 per cent of the population aged 14 and older were estimated to have used cocaine in the previous year. The highest estimated prevalence of cocaine was among young adults aged 20-29 also.

Cocaine use was not popular in both Africa in Asia. For Africa, the use of cocaine was estimated to be between 0.02 per cent and 0.40 per cent of the population, while in Asia the cocaine use was estimated to be between 0.04 and 0.07 per cent.

Methamphetamine

The information available globally on methamphetamine, although limited, indicates that there has been a market expansion. The data available shows that this market has been expanding and that the two largest ‘demand regions’ are South-East Asia and North America.

In terms of methamphetamine that has been seized, North American and South-East Asia, respectively account for 49 per cent and 42 per cent of global quantities seized. Despite the overall expansion of methamphetamine markets worldwide, most of the trafficking continues to be intraregional, for example, trafficking within North America or within South-East Asia.

Our testing solution

Randox Toxicology are first to market when it comes to testing for the latest drugs of abuse and new psychoactive substances in the market.  Our revolutionary Biochip Array Technology provides state-of-the-art drug detection, utilizing simultaneous drug detection from a single sample across multiple matrices.

Our ELISA kits provide a comprehensive test menu, covering a broad range of drugs of abuse, stimulants, analgesics and sedatives. Randox Toxicology develop the highest quality 96-well microtitre plates available to the market, with results providing excellent correlation with confirmatory methods.

To find out more email us at: info@randoxtoxicology.com or visit our website: www.randoxtoxicology.com

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Take control of your liver health with a Randox Health Check

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09 January 2020

Understanding your liver health

Take control of your liver health with a Randox Health Check

Are you taking part in Dry January? Giving up alcohol can do your insides a lot of good, and it’s great news for your liver in particular. It may be that after the festive period our liver needs a little bit of rest!

Did you know that alcohol consumption across the UK increases by a staggering 41 percent more than the annual monthly average in December? That’s more than anywhere else in the world.

The effects of alcohol on your health really depend on how much you drink and how often, but as the statistics show, more of us increase our uptake of alcohol over the festive period.

So how does this impact our body and our liver?

The results of over indulging vary from a hangover, a poor night’s sleep, to causing an irregular heartbeat, and in some cases, excessive alcohol intake can lead to liver damage. This can be a very serious condition, given the liver’s vital role in the body.

The liver plays a central role in all metabolic processes. In fat metabolism, it breaks down fats and produces energy. When we intake alcohol or drugs, it metabolizes the drug and detoxifies chemicals.  And it also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.

Following these processes, the liver also secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines and helps the digestion of fats and oils, otherwise known as lipids.

The liver can develop new cells, but abuse over a prolonged period reduces its ability to regenerate, causing serious damage.

It is not just heavy drinking over years that can cause liver disease – binge drinking is also a culprit and can lead to a build up of fat and subsequent inflammation. The best advice is to drink in moderation. Simple tips like taking a glass of water in-between alcoholic drinks are key to staying hydrated.

Know your units;

  • According to drinkaware.co.uk, unit guidelines are now the same for men and women.
  • Both are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
  • This equates to 6 pints of 4% beer / 6 glasses of 13% wine / 14 glasses (25ml) of 40% spirits
  • But don’t save up your 14 units, it’s best to spread evenly across the week.
  • If you want to cut down the amount you’re drinking, a good way is to have several drink-free days each week.
  • If you’ve had a heavy drinking session, avoid alcohol for 48 hours.

What does one unit of alcohol look like?

One unit of alcohol is the amount of alcohol an average adult can process within one hour so that so that there’s no alcohol left in their bloodstream.

One unit of alcohol equates to:

  • 218ml of standard 4.5% cider
  • 76ml of standard 13% wine
  • 25ml of standard 40% whiskey
  • 250ml of standard 4% beer
  • 250ml of a standard 4% alcopop

How many units are in my drink?

  • Small glass white / rosé / red wine (125ml 12%) = 1.5 units
  • Standard glass white / rosé / red wine (175 ml 12%) = 2.1 units
  • Large glass white / red / rosé wine (250ml 12%) = 3 units
  • Pint of lager / beer / cider (5.2%) = 3 units
  • Bottle of lager / beer / cider (330ml 5%) = 1.7 units
  • Single small shot of spirits (25ml 40%) = 1 unit*

*taken from NHS Live Well Guidelines

Having your liver health checked after Christmas is a great way of tracking any changes that you may need to make to your lifestyle, for better or for worse – essential for helping you prevent disease and allowing you to take early action if it is diagnosed.

At Randox we offer a comprehensive menu of liver function tests to determine its health.  Provided by Randox to a wealth of hospitals, laboratories and research facilities across the globe, these tests are also directly available to you, the consumer, via our Randox Health clinics.

They include:

  • Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) – an enzyme mainly found in the liver. Liver injury or disease will release ALT into the bloodstream, thus elevating serum ALT levels.  Moderately high or mildly elevated ALT levels can be associated with chronic diseases, such as cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver.
  • Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) – an enzyme found predominantly in the heart, liver and skeletal muscles. Cell injury or disease will release AST into the bloodstream, thus elevating blood AST levels. Increased AST levels may be associated with hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), cirrhosis, or drug-induced liver injury.
  • Gamma-Glutamyltransferase (GGT) – an enzyme found mainly in the liver. Increased levels of GGT in the blood may indicate bile duct injury, hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver necrosis (death of tissue), tumours or the use of drugs that are toxic to the liver.  A high GGT level is frequently associated with increased alcohol consumption, as this enzyme is involved in the breakdown and removal of alcohol from the body.
  • Glutamate Dehydrogenase (GLDH) – an enzyme located within the mitochondria (energy-producing machinery) of cells, particularly within liver tissue. Significant liver cell damage may cause release of GLDH into the bloodstream.  Toxic liver damage, liver cell necrosis or hypoxic liver disease (where liver cells are deprived of oxygen) may cause an increase in GLDH. Measurement of GLDH in combination with other liver markers may help distinguish between different causes of liver dysfunction.
  • Bilirubin – a yellowish-brown pigment found in bile. Increased levels may be associated with liver or bile duct blockage (eg due to gallstones), hepatitis, cirrhosis, trauma to the liver, a drug reaction, long-term alcohol abuse or rare inherited disorders (eg Dubin-Johnson syndrome which is characterised by mild jaundice).
  • Albumin – produced by the liver, albumin is the most abundant protein in the blood. Albumin plays in important role in maintaining blood pressure and transporting a wide variety of small molecules, such as hormones, vitamins and drugs, throughout the body. Various conditions are associated with decreased albumin levels, including kidney and liver diseases.
  • Copper – an essential mineral that plays a part in many enzyme systems within the body. Excess or deficiency of copper is very rare, however raised copper levels may be caused by chronic liver disease or acute hepatitis.

And when used in conjunction with the wide variety of other tests available within the world’s most comprehensive and personalised health testing menu, you can obtain an understanding of your full body health like never before.

That’s why we don’t test in isolation, which can give a patchy representation of your health and can fail to pick up on related symptoms elsewhere in the body. We test up to 350 tests across 25 areas of your health – giving you the power to take your health into your own hands.

Contact the Randox Health team today to determine the health of your liver, and of your body.

Call 0800 2545 130 or click here.

To find out more and purchase the most thoughtful of Christmas presents – a gift card for the ‘gift of health’ – click here.

 

 

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The Drug Epidemic in The Seychelles Islands

News       About Us        Randox Toxicology

24 December 2019

 

The Drug Epidemic in The Seychelles Islands

The Seychelles is suffering from a drug epidemic. Nearly 10% of its 94000 population are addicted to heroin, according to the Agency for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation (APDAR) in the Seychelles.

Per capita, the Seychelles suffers from the highest rate of heroin abuse in the world. Heroin makes the long journey from Central Asia, especially Afghanistan, before being smuggled to the islands via East Africa. Made up of 115 islands, the Seychelles has many porous borders, which makes them hard to monitor and easy for the drugs to come into the country. Rather than attempting a “war on drugs”, which would criminalise the large proportion of heroin users in the Seychelles, the head of the anti-drug agency has introduced a Portuguese-style drug policy – considering drug addiction as a chronic diseased to be treated.

Heroin users in the Seychelles have two options:

  • Join a high threshold Methadone Maintenance Programme (MMP), which includes a period of in-patient treatment where they must commit to detoxification
  • Or the low threshold programme, which focuses on harm reduction

Individuals have access to medical and psychosocial support under both programmes.

Patrick Herminie, who had previously attended one of the programmes, has stated “currently, we have over 2000 people registered in one of our programmes and 68% of those are now gainfully employed”.  Each morning he visits one of the country’s mobile methadone clinics, white vans that are manned by drug counsellors and qualified nurses to give the correct dose of methadone to recovering addicts. People line up outside the open windows of the van, ready to show their ID. Their name, the date and time are logged into a spreadsheet on receipt of the information and the correct dose of methadone is distributed to them.

Utilising our patented Biochip Array Technology, our DoA ULTRA panel, available for the Evidence Investigator, offers the most comprehensive drugs of abuse screen across multiple forensic matrices. Detecting up to 20 targets drugs including heroin and other opioids, it has the largest cross-reactivity profile of over 240 analytes. Our excellent assay precision and performance eliminates false reporting, offering CVs of typically <10%. Randox Toxicology produce an accurate drug profile to ensure confidence in results.

To find out more about our Biochip Array Technology and our Evidence Series range of analysers, visit www.randoxtoxicology.com or email info@randoxtoxicology.com

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New report highlights scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in UK

10 December 2019

New report highlights scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in UK

 

A new report has highlighted the scale and causes of prescription drug dependence in the UK. In 2017, the minister for public health and primary care commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to identify the scale, distribution and causes of prescription drug dependence, and what might be done to address it.

The review covered adults (aged 18 and over) and 5 classes of medicines:

  • benzodiazepines (mostly prescribed for anxiety)
  • z-drugs (sleeping tablets with effects similar to benzodiazepines)
  • gabapentin and pregabalin (together called gabapentinoids and used to treat epilepsy, neuropathic pain and, in the case of pregabalin, anxiety)
  • opioids for chronic non-cancer pain
  • antidepressants

PHE’s analysis shows that, in 2017 to 2018, 11.5 million adults in England (26% of the adult population) received, and had dispensed, one or more prescriptions for any of the medicines within the scope of the review. The totals for each medicine were:

  • z-drugs – 1.0 million (2%)
  • benzodiazepines – 4 million (3%)
  • gabapentinoids – 5 million (3%)
  • antidepressants – 3 million people (17% of the adult population)
  • opioid pain medicines – 6 million (13%)

Trends

Between 2015 to 2016 and 2017 to 2018 the rate of prescribing for antidepressants increased from 15.8% of the adult population to 16.6% and for gabapentinoids from 2.9% to 3.3%. There was a small decrease in prescribing rates for the other 3 medicine classes. Rates of prescribing were higher for women (1.5 times those of men), and the rates generally increased with age. After a long increasing trend, the annual number of prescriptions for opioid pain medicines has slightly decreased since 2016. There is a continuing longer-term fall in prescription numbers for benzodiazepines. A longer-term increase in annual prescription numbers for z-drugs started to reverse in 2014.

Officials said long-term use on such a scale could not be justified and was a sign of patients dependence.

PHE medical director Prof Paul Cosford said he was worried.

“These medicines have many vital clinical uses and can make a big difference to people’s quality of life.”

But he added there were too many cases where patients were using them for longer than “clinically” appropriate – where the drugs would have simply stopped working effectively or where the risks could outweigh the benefits.

Conclusions

One in 4 adults in England were prescribed benzodiazepines, z-drugs, gabapentinoids, opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, or antidepressants. Prescriptions for antidepressants and gabapentinoids are increasing, but prescriptions for opioid pain medicines are decreasing. Prescriptions for benzodiazepines continue to fall, and those for z-drugs have more recently started to fall.

Peter Burkinshaw at PHE, one of the authors said: “The long-term prescribing of opioid pain medicines and benzodiazepines is not supported by guidelines and is not effective.”

Fellow author Rosanna O’Connor, said: “We know that GPs in some of the more deprived areas are under great pressure but, as this review highlights, more needs to be done to educate and support patients, as well as looking closely at prescribing practice and what alternative treatments are available locally.

References

Dependence and withdrawal associated with some prescribed medicines (PHE)

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/sep/10/addictive-medication-nhs-opioid-crisis-government-study-england

Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we are at the forefront of alcohol and drug testing. We aim to spread the message of alcohol and drug misuse and the effects substance abuse can have on individuals and businesses. Prescription & OTC medication if taken incorrectly can have a devastating impact. It’s important to communicate with employers if you are taking prescription medication for any reason. If your organisation undertakes workplace testing, our chain of custody process provides clarity on the steps needed to ensure confidentiality is maintained.

For more information on drug & alcohol testing, including the wide range of substances we can test for, please visit www.randoxtestingservices.com or email testingservices@randox.com

 

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California announces ban of Chlorpyrifos Pesticide from February 2020

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26 November 2019

Chlorpyrifos Pesticide ban in California

California announces ban of Chlorpyrifos Pesticide from February 2020

A recent Forbes article has stated that; “California plans to ban all sales of chlorpyrifos after Feb. 6, 2020, according to an agreement between the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) and manufacturers. Growers must use their chlorpyrifos supplies by the end of Dec. 31, 2020, and will not be allowed to own the pesticide after this date.

The DPR cited concerns about chlorpyrifos affecting the health of children, such as causing “impaired brain and neurological development.”

Chlorpyrifos is an agricultural pesticide with a variety of uses, including the ability to kill insects that harm crops. Introduced by the Dow Chemical Company in 1965, chlorpyrifos can eliminate insects by interfering with an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase in their bodies, which breaks up the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

When an insect’s body cannot produce the enzyme, the levels of acetylcholine build up and overstimulate the nervous system until the insect dies. People also have acetylcholinesterase and acetylcholine in their bodies, so there have been ongoing concerns about the pesticide’s impact on human health.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) explained, “In people, short-term oral exposure (one day) to low (milligrams) levels of chlorpyrifos can cause dizziness, fatigue, runny nose or eyes, salivation, nausea, intestinal discomfort, sweating and changes in heart rate. Short-term oral exposure to much higher (grams) levels of chlorpyrifos may cause paralysis, seizures, loss of consciousness and death.”

In order to help the industry Randox Food Diagnostics have developed Biochip Array Technology. Biochip allows for the detection of multiple pesticides including Chlorpyrifos, from a single honey or milk sample. The platform enables the user to run up to 54  samples on the Evidence Investigator analyser with a short sample preparation, allowing the user to consolidate costs and time.

For further information please contact the Randox Food Diagnostics team by emailing info@randoxfooddiagnostics.com.

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Practical steps for dealing with substance misuse in the workplace

11 November 2019

Practical steps for dealing with substance misuse in the workplace

 

What is substance misuse?

Substance misuse (or abuse) is defined as the sustained use of any mind-altering substance. This includes legal substances like solvents and alcohol as well as illegal drugs. Through this continued use the user’s physical and mental health are severely affected. The misuse of substances in the workplace can cause issues such as increased absenteeism, low productivity and create an unsafe working environment.

It is estimated that between 3% and 5% of all work absences are due to alcohol abuse and that 1 in 30 employees has had drugs in their system at one time in the workplace. All employers have a legal responsibility to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees and so statistics like this cannot be ignored.

What can employers do?

As an employer, it is important that measures are taken to protect all employees and the company from potential dangers. To do this, employers should:

Introduce a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy. This lets all stakeholders know exactly where the company stands on substance misuse and shows that you are being proactive in your approach.

Conduct drug and alcohol testing. Utilising random and/or with cause testing can help quickly identify any substance misuse issues. Consider including a contractual obligation for employees to co-operate with this.

Train staff to identify the signs of substance misuse. Make everyone aware of the issue and give them the ability to look for the key signs. This can only help increase safety.

Keep up-to-date with the latest legislation. The laws on substance misuse can change quite quickly, especially as new substances like legal highs are identified and re-classified. Ensure you are aware of the latest changes.

Support employees. Addiction or frequent misuse of substances should be treated the same way as other health issues. Offer support to your employees and help them make a quick return to work.

The above steps can help better manage the issue of substance misuse in the workplace. Effectively communicating the company’s stance on this issue to employees brings clarity and lets everyone know where they stand.

Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we offer comprehensive drug and alcohol testing solutions for workplaces. We incorporate cutting-edge screening methods to provide an outstanding testing service and are well-positioned to provide consultancy and support to help you put an effective workplace drug and alcohol testing policy in place.

For more information contact us at testingservices@randox.com.

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