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Current occupational exposures in chinese iron and copper mines.

Wu Z; Hearl FJ; Peng K; McCawley MA; Chen A; Palassis J; Dosemeci M; Chen J; McLaughlin JK; Rexing SH; Blot WJ
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1992 Nov; 7(11):735-743
The relationship between dust and radiation exposures and the incidence of silicosis and lung cancer was assessed in Chinese iron (7439896) and copper miners. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the validity of industrial hygiene monitoring data collected in mines in the Huangshi region of Hubei Province in the past three decades. Environmental and breathing zone samples were collected and analyzed for total and respirable dust, quartz (14808607), cristobalite (14464461), 30 trace elements, 17 polynuclear aromatic compounds (PNAs), radon (10043922), and gamma radiation. The dust samples were collected by Chinese samplers provided by Tongji Medical University and NIOSH sampling equipment. Current data were compared with historical data where possible. Regression of the NIOSH method data on the Chinese sampler data indicated a concordance of 72.8% with a linear model accounting for about 77% of the variance. The historical data, especially data obtained in recent years, generally agreed with the current data. Representative data for total dust exposures obtained in 1984 and 1985, 1986 through 1988, and in the current study indicated dust concentrations of 2.3, 2.9, and 2.8mg/m3, respectively. The quartz content of the dusts varied from 1.8 to 30.1%. The Chinese sampler data typically overestimated the quartz content of the dusts when compared to the NIOSH sampler data. No asbestos was detected. Low concentrations of airborne arsenic (7440382), nickel (7440020), and cadmium (7440439) were measured. Radon exposures typically ranged from nondetectable to 2.2 working levels (WL), except in an unventilated dead entry of a copper mine where a peak of 47.6WL was measured. Gamma radiation exposures were typically below 2.0 millirad per hour. PNA concentrations ranged from 3 to 532 micrograms per cubic meter. The authors conclude that the historical exposure data for the workforce at the mines makes the workers a suitable population for studying work related respiratory diseases. Exposure of the miners to carcinogenic metals is limited but exposure to radon is significant.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-exposure; Underground-mining; Dust-sampling; Industrial-hygiene; Radiation-exposure; Quartz-dust; Lung-cancer
7439-89-6; 14808-60-7; 14464-46-1; 10043-92-2; 7440-38-2; 7440-02-0; 7440-43-9
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Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division