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Industrial hygiene considerations for establishing a job-exposure matrix: a case study for beryllium workers.

Day G; Schuler C; Velilla A; Hoover M; Kreiss K; Dufresne A; Kent M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2003 May; :68
In 1999, detailed work histories were gathered from 731 of 808 eligible workers at a facility engaged in the primary production of beryllium metal, oxides, and alloys. Workers reported minutes spent in specific tasks throughout an average workday. Workers were also screened for beryllium sensitization and chronic beryllium disease (CBD) as follow-up to a survey conducted six years earlier. Since the previous survey, approximately 95,000 air samples (area, lapel, special, and process) had been collected from more than 500 operations and 76 separate locations. As part of a larger analysis, we are developing a job-exposure matrix (JEM) with the objective of estimating personal exposures to airborne beryllium. Each cell within the JEM comprises average airborne beryllium mass concentration (ug/m3) by year for each department, location, and operation combination (area). The quality and consistency of these data were gauged via comparison to estimates from NIOSH research and OSHA inspection data. We then created a data dictionary of consistent descriptors for all areas to serve as a bridge to the work history dataset. Preliminary observations indicated that over this period >90% of all samples were general area samples, and that the proportion of lapel samples increased from <1% in 1994 to >5% in 1999. Data were also analyzed for trends in exposure concentration by area. The JEM developed herein will serve as the basis for evaluating dose-response relationships for beryllium sensitization and CBD in this workforce. The next phase of this project will involve converting estimates of airborne exposure to alternative metrics of exposure that may better reflect the bioavailability of inhaled beryllium. Additional options include assessing (1) physicochemical properties of various forms of beryllium to which workers may have been exposed, and (2) the potential impact of dermal exposure on sensitization.
Industrial-hygiene; Beryllium-compounds; Workers; Oxides; Chronic-degenerative-diseases; Job-analysis; Airborne-particles; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas
Page last reviewed: December 18, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division