Research

Work sexism damages women's mental health
An Australian study has confirmed that sex discrimination in the workplace has a damaging impact on women's health. The research, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, investigated the associations between workplace sexism, sense of belonging at work, mental health, and job satisfaction for women in male-dominated industries. The 190 women, all members of a large Australian union that represents workers in mainly male-dominated jobs, found "organisational sexism and interpersonal sexism were associated with a poorer sense of belonging in the industry, which was associated with poorer mental health. A poorer sense of belonging also explained the negative effect of organisational sexism on job satisfaction." The study was conducted with the assistance of the unidentified union.

"Strategies that integrate women more thoroughly into male-dominated industries and give them a better sense of belonging may help to increase their mental health and job satisfaction," said co-author Mark Rubin, an associate professor at the University of Newcastle, NSW. "However, we also need better strategies to reduce sexism in the workplace if we are to tackle this problem at its root." The study cites research by the TUC into the impact of sexism in the workplace. An earlier US study found that sexism takes a toll on women's health and well-being (see SafetyNet 447)
Read more: Mark Rubin and others. A confirmatory study of the relations between workplace sexism, sense of belonging, mental health, and job satisfaction among women in male‐dominated industries [Abstract], Journal of Applied Social Psychology, February 2019. Related project website, including full text of the article. EurekAlert. Source: Risks 885

Receipts expose retail workers to cancer chemical
A study by Environmental Defence Canada (EDC) has found that retail workers are being exposed to "worrying" levels of BPA and BPS - hormone disrupting industrial chemicals that have been linked to diabetes, obesity, ADHD and breast and prostate cancers - by simply handling thermal paper receipts. "These slips of paper are covertly exposing cashiers to worrying levels of hormone disrupting BPA and BPS every day," Muhannad Malas, toxics programme manager at EDC, said. "But it doesn't have to be this way."

In a first-of-its-kind experiment, Malas, EDC toxics programme director Sarah Jamal and two other volunteers handled receipts, tickets and passes printed on thermal paper and then conducted urine tests to show how easily BPA - short for "bisphenol A" and commonly found in thermal paper - can be absorbed through the skin. They also handled thermal paper coated with BPS, or bisphenol S, which several companies have switched to in light of BPA-related concerns, though some scientists warn it could have similar negative health effects. The team at EDC found that BPA levels in their bodies rose up to 42 times higher than a pre-exposure baseline and BPS levels increased by up to 115 times.

The findings were "mindboggling", Malas said. The results have also worried union leaders representing retail workers. "I mean a lot of them don't even know that these chemicals exist," United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada health and safety representative Mary Shaw told CTV News. "They are not being informed by their employers either which is incredibly frustrating." The union has suggested that cashiers wear protective gloves until safer alternatives are to thermal paper receipts are introduced. That position was suggested in the autumn 2018 edition of 'Checkout,' UFCW Canada's news magazine. The European Union has already taken action, banning the use of BPA in receipts from next year. 
Read more: EDC news release. CTV News. Source: Risks 885

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