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Variability and determinants of wood dust and resin acid exposure during wood pellet production: measurement strategies and bias in assessing exposure-response relationships
Örebro University, Department of Natural Sciences.
2008 (English)In: Annals of Occupational Hygiene, ISSN 0003-4878, E-ISSN 1475-3162, Vol. 52, no 8, p. 685-694Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Production of wood pellets is a relatively new and expanding industry in which the exposure profiles differ from those in other wood-processing industries like carpentries and sawmills where there are lower levels of wood dust. Sixty-eight personal exposure measurements of wood dust (inhalable and total dust) and resin acids were collected for 44 participants at four production plants located in Sweden. Results were used to estimate within- and between-worker variability and to identify uniformly exposed groups and determinants of exposure. In addition, overexposure, whether the risk of the long-term mean exposure of a randomly selected worker exceeding the occupational exposure limit is acceptably low, was calculated as well as the underestimation of the exposure–response relationship (attenuation). Greater variability in exposure between work shifts than between workers was observed with the within-worker variation accounting for 57–99% of the total variance in the individual-based model. Several uniformly exposed groups were detected but were mostly associated with a between-worker variation of zero which is an underestimation of the between-worker variation but an indication of uniformly exposed groups. Cleaning was identified as a work task that increases exposure slightly; so reducing workers’ exposure during this operation is advisable. The levels of wood dust were high and were found to pose unacceptable risks of overexposure at all plants for inhalable dust and at three out of four plants for total dust. These findings show that exposure to dust needs to be reduced in this industry. For resin acids, the exposure was classed as acceptable at all plants. According to an individual-based model constructed from the data, the level of attenuation was high, and thus there would be substantial bias in derived dose–response relationships.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 52, no 8, p. 685-694
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Research subject
Enviromental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-2861DOI: 10.1093/annhyg/men052OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-2861DiVA, id: diva2:135366
Available from: 2008-02-01 Created: 2008-02-01 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Occupational exposure during production of wood pellets in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Occupational exposure during production of wood pellets in Sweden
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aims of the studies underlying this thesis were to assess workers’ air exposure to wood dust and various chemicals, and to evaluate the variability in exposure and occupational dermal exposure to resin acids during the production of wood pellets in Sweden. Personal air measurements of wood dust, monoterpenes, resin acids and nitrogen dioxide (as a marker of diesel exhaust), accompanied by area measurements of these substances, VOCs and carbon monoxide, were performed at up to ten plants. Repeated measurements were also performed to evaluate within- and between-worker variability, determinants of exposure, the probability that a worker’s mean exposure exceeded the occupational exposure limit, OEL (overexposure), and the bias in the exposure-response relationship (attenuation).

Dermal exposure was measured at the forehead, neck, forearm and hand using a tape-stripping method, in which a strip of adhesive tape is applied to the skin and then removed along with the outermost layer of the skin and chemicals adsorbed to this layer. The workers’ exposure to wood dust was high (mean: 2.4 mg/m3), with 35−42 % of the measurements above the Swedish OEL of 2 mg/m3. The exposure is also classified as unacceptable due to the calculated levels of overexposure. Exposure to resin acids like 7-oxodehydroabietic acid and dehydroabietic acid was identified, which has not been previously observed in the wood industry, with mean sum levels of 2.4 _g/m3. Levels of monoterpenes, nitrogen dioxide, VOCs and carbon monoxide were all below their Swedish OELs. A factor that influenced the level of exposure to wood dust and resin acids was the nature of the work done, notably cleaning operations, like sweeping, which increased the exposure slightly. The attenuation was high for the individual-based model, and at least 12 repeated measurements were needed to yield a bias in the exposureresponse relationship of _10 %. The results also showed that dermal exposure to resin acids occurs in these plants, which has not been shown before, and provided indications of both increased exposure during a work shift and diffusion into the skin. The main conclusion is that wood dust exposure at these levels is likely to have implications for the workers’ health in the long run, and, therefore, it is important to reduce exposure to wood dust in this industry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2008. p. 75
Series
Örebro Studies in Environmental Science, ISSN 1650-6278 ; 11
Keyword
Occupational hygiene, wood dust, resin acids, VOC, variability, determinant of exposure, overexposure, dermal exposure
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Research subject
Enviromental Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-1726 (URN)978-91-7668-571-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-02-22, Wilandersalen, M-huset, Universitetssjukhuset, Örebro, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-02-01 Created: 2008-02-01 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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