Subjective estimation of toluene exposures: a calibration study of industrial hygienists.
Appl Ind Hyg 1989 Mar; 4(3):61-68
An evaluation was made of the ability of a group of industrial hygienists to predict exposures based on experience and professional judgement. Toluene (108883) exposures were measured over a 3 week period for a group of batch chemical process workers for a total of 134 personal measurements. Each of 24 industrial hygienists participated in an interview during which time each expert reviewed chemical process information and then subjectively assessed the distribution of exposures and the average exposure among the workers. A remarkable degree of accuracy was noted in the estimation of the average exposure and the 90th percentile of the exposure distribution, particularly after they had reviewed the limited exposure data. Less accurate were the results of the lower percentiles of the distribution. The authors suggest that experienced hygienists may be able to provide subjective estimates of exposures for retrospective epidemiological studies and prospective hazard evaluation. Further work is needed to extend the approach to other situations including those involving dusts and aerosols, and to explore the attributes of experts, various judgement elicitation procedures, and exposure situations which influence the quality of subjective exposure estimates.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Industrial-hygienists; Occupational-health-services; Workplace-studies; Occupational-exposure; Organic-solvents; Industrial-health-programs; Grants-other
Physiology Department, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
Applied Industrial Hygiene
Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts