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A novel strategy for retrospective exposure assessment in the Norwegian silicon carbide industry

The objective was to construct a retrospective job-exposure matrix (JEM) for the Norwegian silicon carbide industry. More than 3300 historical total dust measurements were available (1967–2005); however, there were few measurements of other agents. Total dust measurements were therefore used as the basis for the JEM, and a novel method was developed to estimate exposure to other agents. Multiple linear regression models were developed to describe historical exposure to total dust. Exposure estimates were extrapolated backward to periods without exposure data by adjustments for process and work-hour related changes. An exposure assessment study was performed where total dust was sampled in parallel with fibers or respirable dust. The respirable dust was analyzed for the content of quartz, cristobalite, and silicon carbide. Mixed-effect models were developed to estimate the exposure to these agents from total dust exposure, plant, and job group. Exposure to asbestos and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons was assigned qualitatively. Multiple linear regression models of total dust described historical exposure best in the furnace department (R2 adj = 0.49–0.74). Models in the other departments explained less variance (R2 adj = 0.12–0.32). Exposure determinants and total dust explained a substantial proportion of the between- (70–100%) and within-worker (8.0–54%) variance in the...

Føreland, Solveig; Bugge, Merete Drevvatne; Bakke, Berit; Bye, Erik; Wijnand, Eduard
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 9(4): 230–241
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