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Exposure to thoracic aerosol in a prospective lung function study of cement production workers

Introduction: An exposure study was conducted as part of a multi-national longitudinal study of lung function in cement production workers. Aim: To examine exposure to thoracic aerosol among cement production workers during a 4-year follow-up period. Methods: Personal shift measurements of thoracic aerosol were conducted among the cement production workers within seven job types, 22 plants, and eight European countries (including Turkey) in 2007, 2009, and 2011. The thoracic sub-fraction was chosen as the most relevant aerosol fraction related to obstructive dynamic lung function changes. Production factors, job type, and respirator use were recorded by questionnaire. The exposure data were log-transformed before mixed models analysis and results were presented by geometric mean (GM adj ) exposure levels adjusted for plant or job type, worker, and season as random effects. Results: A total of 6111 thoracic aerosol samples were collected from 2534 workers. Repeated measurements were obtained from 1690 of these workers. The GM adj thoracic aerosol levels varied between job types from 0.20 to 1.2mg m −3 . The highest exposure levels were observed for production, cleaning, and maintenance workers (0.79–1.2mg m −3 ) and could reach levels where the risk of lung function loss may be increased. The lowest...

Annals of Occupational Hygiene 59(1): 4–24
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