Quantification of historical dust exposures in the diatomaceous earth industry.
Seixas NS; Heyer NJ; Welp EAE; Checkoway H
Ann Occup Hyg 1997 Oct; 41(5):591-604
Quantitative estimates of dust exposure in a diatomaceous earth (DE) mining and milling operation have been derived based on air sampling records for the period 1948-1988. A total of 6395 records was included in the analysis. Conversion of results obtained by particle counting, expressed as millions of particles per cubic feet (mppcf) of gravimetrically from a filter cassette and expressed as mg m-3 total, were converted to mg m-3 respirable dust using a conversion factor derived from data obtained during the same periods at the plant. Conversion factors were calculated as the average difference of means on the log scale in order to provide stable and consistent conversions and as a ratio of arithmetic means so that the results could be compared with similar studies. After converting the available data to mg m-3 respirable dust, geometric mean (geometric standard deviation) concentrations were 0.37 (2.43) during the 1950s and 0.17 (2.35) during later periods. Exposures were estimated using two linear models, one estimating the changes in concentration over time, and the other providing job-specific mean exposures during the more recent period. Extrapolation of the estimates to periods prior to the availability of any data was done using a subjectively-determined scaling factor. The average estimated respirable dust concentrations for 135 jobs were 3.55 (+/-1.25), 1.37 (+/-0.48), 0.47 (+/-0.16) and 0.29 (+/-0.10) mg m-3 prior to 1949, 1949-1953, 1954-1973 and 1974-1988, respectively. Despite the limitations of the available data, the estimation procedures used are expected to provide reasonable quantitative estimates of silica-containing dust exposure for subsequent exposure-response analyses.
Pulmonary-system-disorders; Silica-dusts; Occupational-exposure; Lung-cancer; Organic-dusts; Dust-exposure; Dust-particles; Quantitative-analysis; Air-sampling; Air-sampling-techniques; Respirable-dust; Exposure-levels
Annals of Occupational Hygiene
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington