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The relation between subjective dust exposure estimates and quantitative dust exposure measurements in California agriculture.
Nieuwenhuijsen MJ; Noderer KS; Schenker MB
Am J Ind Med 1997 Oct; 32(4):355-363
Agriculture workers' subjective estimations of dust exposure levels were compared with personal dust exposure measurements. Farmworkers at ten farms in California participated in the study. Inhalable dust measurements were compared with subjective dust estimates of 124 farmworkers. An Institute of Occupational Medicine inhalable dust sampler with a detection limit of 0.03 milligram (mg) per filter was used and the average sampling time was 157 minutes. Respirable dust measurements were compared to the subjective dust estimates for 129 farmworkers. A respirable dust cyclone was used with a detection limit of 0.067mg per filter and the average sampling time was 165 minutes. Weak to moderate correlations for individuals' subjective dust estimates were noted with measured dust concentrations for both the inhalable and respirable dust fractions. The within worker reliability coefficients were low. Grouped subjective dust estimates performed better and showed a consistent increase with average measured dust levels, particularly the inhalable dust fraction. The number of years worked in agriculture, education level, the presence of any respiratory symptoms, and the language of the questionnaire did not have a significant independent effect on the relationship between measured dust levels and subjective dust estimates. The authors conclude that California agricultural workers appear reasonably good at estimating inhalable dust levels, particularly if an average of many different workers is taken. However, they are not able to provide good estimates of respirable dust levels. Measuring dust levels is preferable for studies of dust exposure.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Airborne-dusts; Humans; Plant-dusts; Agricultural-workers; Dust-exposure; Agricultural-industry; Epidemiology;
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
University of California - Davis
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division