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Estimating historical arsenic exposures in a cadmium smelter.

Finley M; Rice C; Stayner L
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2003 May; :8-9
This study reconstructed workers' historical arsenic exposures to augment previous research conducted at a cadmium smelter. Although an association between cadmium and lung cancer has been observed in these previous investigations, it is uncertain as to whether this association may be explained by confounding from arsenic exposure. After the facility became a cadmium smelter, exposure to arsenic occurred from its presence in feedstock material (bag house dust from other plants) and its presence as a by-product of the production process in the departments that processed the feedstock. The purpose of this study was to estimate the arsenic exposures by compiling air sampling, feedstock composition, and biological monitoring data. Through mathematical manipulations of these sampling data, a departmental exposure matrix was developed to show the changes in the airborne arsenic levels and workers' exposure in the plant over time. The estimates were compiled and values for missing estimates were generated using statistical software. The resulting data set contained exposure estimates for 28 departments over the years from 1940 to 1985. As hypothesized, the workers' arsenic exposures decreased over time for all departments. Exposures were highest for the departments that handled and processed the incoming feedstock. These departments and their mean exposure estimates included calcine (0.12 mg/m3), mixer/screener (0.12 mg/m ), loading gang (0.13 mg/m3), concentrated and dry dust (0.13 mg/m3), general labor/unloading (0.13 mg/m3), sampling (0.11 mg/m3), crushing (0.11 mg/m3), roasting (0.11 mg/m3), and auto truck (0.13 mg/m3). Exposures were lowest for the non-production departments, those not directly related to the process, i.e., administration, where the mean estimate was 0.04 mg/m3. Approximately 55 of the total estimates and 76% of the estimates for high exposure departments exceeded the current ACGIH TLV of 0.01 mg/m3 for arsenic, indicating that these employees were potentially overexposed.
Arsenic-compounds; Cadmium-compounds; Smelters; Lung-cancer; Air-sampling; Biological-monitoring; Workers; Occupational-exposure; Exposure-levels
7440-38-2; 7440-43-9
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas
Page last reviewed: October 9, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division