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Determinants of Exposure to Dust and Dust Constituents in the Norwegian Silicon Carbide Industry

Abstract Introduction: The aim of this study was to identify important determinants of dust exposure in the Norwegian silicon carbide (SiC) industry and to suggest possible control measures. Methods: Exposure to total dust, respirable dust, quartz, cristobalite, SiC, and fiber was assessed in three Norwegian SiC plants together with information on potential determinants of exposure. Mixed-effect models were constructed with natural log-transformed exposure as the dependent variable. Results: The exposure assessment resulted in about 700 measurements of each of the sampled agents. Geometric mean (GM) exposure for total dust, respirable dust, fibers, and SiC for all workers was 1.6mg m−3 [geometric standard deviation (GSD) = 3.2], 0.30mg m−3 (GSD = 2.5), 0.033 fibers cm−3 (GSD = 5.2), and 0.069mg m−3 (GSD = 3.1), respectively. Due to a large portion of quartz and cristobalite measurements below the limit of detection in the processing and maintenance departments (>58%), GM for all workers was not calculated. Work in the furnace department was associated with the highest exposure to fibers, quartz, and cristobalite, while work in the processing department was associated with the highest total dust, respirable dust, and SiC exposure. Job group was a strong determinant of exposure for all agents, explaining 43–82%...

Føreland, Solveig; Bakke, Berit; Vermeulen, Roel; Bye, Erik; Wijnand, Eduard
Annals of Occupational Hygiene 57(4): 417–431
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