Retrospective exposure assessment to airborne asbestos among power industry workers

FELTEN, Michael K, KNOLL, Lars, EISENHAWER, Christian, ACKERMANN, Diana, KHATAB, Khaled, HÜDEPOHL, Johannes, ZSCHIESCHE, Wolfgang and KRAUS, Thomas (2010). Retrospective exposure assessment to airborne asbestos among power industry workers. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, 5 (1), p. 15.

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1745-6673-5-15
Link to published version:: 10.1186/1745-6673-5-15

Abstract

Background: A method of individually assessing former exposure to asbestos fibres is a precondition of risk-differentiated health surveillance. The main aims of our study were to assess former levels of airborne asbestos exposure in the power industry in Germany and to propose a basic strategy for health surveillance and the early detection of asbestos related diseases.

Methods: Between March 2002 and the end of 2006, we conducted a retrospective questionnaire based survey of occupational tasks and exposures with airborne asbestos fibres in a cohort of 8632 formerly asbestos exposed power industry workers. The data on exposure and occupation were entered into a specially designed computer programme, based on ambient monitoring of airborne asbestos fibre concentrations. The cumulative asbestos exposure was expressed as the product of the eight-hour time weighted average and the total duration of exposure in fibre years (fibres/cubic centimetre-years).

Results: Data of 7775 (90% of the total) participants working in installations for power generation, power distribution or gas supply could be evaluated. The power generation group (n = 5284) had a mean age of 56 years, were exposed for 20 years and had an average cumulative asbestos exposure of 42 fibre years. The occupational group of "metalworkers" (n = 1600) had the highest mean value of 79 fibre years. The corresponding results for the power distribution group (n = 2491) were a mean age of 45 years, a mean exposure duration of 12 years and an average cumulative asbestos exposure of only 2.5 fibre years. The gas supply workers (n = 512) had a mean age of 54 years and a mean duration of exposure of 15 years.

Conclusions: While the surveyed cohort as a whole was heavily exposed to asbestos dust, the power distribution group had a mean cumulative exposure of only 6% of that found in the power generation group. Based on the presented data, risk-differentiated disease surveillance focusing on metalworkers and electricians from the power generating industry seems justified. That combined with a sensitive examination technique would allow detecting asbestos related diseases early and efficiently.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number: 10.1186/1745-6673-5-15
Depositing User: Rebecca Jones
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2012 16:20
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2012 16:20
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6401

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