02/13/2015

Exposure to Thoracic Aerosol in a Prospective Lung Function Study of Cement Production Workers

A total of 6111 thoracic aerosol samples were collected from 2534 workers.
Repeated measurements were obtained from 1690 of these workers.

The GMadj 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 levels were found for
administrative personnel (0.20mg m-3) serving tasks in the production areas.
Office work was not monitored.

GMadj exposure levels between plants ranged from 0.19 to 2.0mg m-3. The time of
year/season contributed significantly to the total variance, but not year of
sampling. Production characteristics explained 63% of the variance explained by
plant. Workers in plants with the highest number of employees (212-483 per
plant) were exposed at a level more than twice as high as those in plants with
fewer employees.

Other production factors such as cement production, bag filling, and tidiness
were significant, but explained less of the exposure variability. These
determinants factors can be useful in qualitative exposure assessment and
exposure prevention in the cement production industry. Respirator use was minor
at exposure levels <0.5mg m-3 but more common at higher levels.

Conclusion

Production, cleaning, and maintenance work were the job types with highest
exposure to thoracic aerosol in cement production plants. However, plant had an
even larger effect on exposure levels than job type. The number of employees
was the most important factor explaining differences between plants. Exposure
reached levels where the risk of lung function loss may be increased. No
significant differences in exposure between sampling campaigns were observed
during the 4-year study period.


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AplusA-online.de - Source: The Annals of Occupational Hygiene