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Quartz and dust exposure in Swedish iron foundries
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2009 (English)In: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, ISSN 1545-9624, E-ISSN 1545-9632, Vol. 6, no 1, p. 9-18Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Exposure to respirable quartz continues to be a major concern in the Swedish iron foundry industry. Recommendations for reducing the European occupational exposure limit (EU-OEL) to 0.05 mg/m3 and the corresponding ACGIH® threshold limit value (ACGIH-TLV) to 0.025 mg/m3 prompted this exposure survey. Occupational exposure to respirable dust and respirable quartz were determined in 11 Swedish iron foundries, representing different sizes of industrial operation and different manufacturing techniques. In total, 436 respirable dust and 435 respirable quartz exposure measurements associated with all job titles were carried out and are presented as time-weighted averages. Our sampling strategy enabled us to evaluate the use of respirators in certain jobs, thus determining actual exposure. In addition, measurements using real-time dust monitors were made for high exposure jobs. For respirable quartz, 23% of all the measurements exceeded the EU-OEL, and 56% exceeded the ACGIH-TLV. The overall geometric mean (GM) for the quartz levels was 0.028 mg/m3, ranging from 0.003 to 2.1 mg/m3. Fettler and furnace and ladle repair operatives were exposed to the highest levels of both respirable dust (GM = 0.69 and 1.2 mg/m3; range 0.076-31 and 0.25-9.3 mg/m3 and respirable quartz (GM = 0.041 and 0.052 mg/m3; range 0.004-2.1 and 0.0098-0.83 mg/m3. Fettlers often used respirators and their actual quartz exposure was lower (range 0.003-0.21 mg/m3, but in some cases it still exceeded the Swedish OEL (0.1 mg/m3. For furnace and ladle repair operatives, the actual quartz exposure did not exceed the OEL (range 0.003-0.08 mg/m3, but most respirators provided insufficient protection, i.e., factors less than 200. In summary, measurements in Swedish iron foundries revealed high exposures to respirable quartz, in particular for fettlers and furnace and ladle repair workers. The suggested EU-OEL and the ACGIH-TLV were exceeded in, respectively, 23% and 56% of all measurements regardless of the type of foundry. Further work on elimination techniques to reduce quartz concentrations, along with control of personal protection equipment, is essential.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis, 2009. Vol. 6, no 1, p. 9-18
Keyword [en]
exposure, iron foundry, quartz; respirators
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-3404DOI: 10.1080/15459620802523943ISI: 000261508800002PubMedID: 18982534OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-3404DiVA, id: diva2:137701
Available from: 2008-12-04 Created: 2008-12-04 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Quartz in Swedish iron foundries: exposure and cancer risk
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Quartz in Swedish iron foundries: exposure and cancer risk
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aims of the studies underlying this thesis were to assess the exposure to quartz in Swedish iron foundries and to determine the cancer morbidity for Swedish foundry workers. A cohort of 3,045 foundry workers and a final measurement database of 2,333 number of samples was established.

The exposure measurements showed high levels of respirable quartz, in particular for fettlers and furnace and ladle repair workers with individual 8 hr TWA (GM=0.041 and 0.052 mg/m3; range 0.004-2.1 and 0.0098-0.83 mg/m3). In our database, the quartz concentrations as 8hr TWAs of current and historical data varied between 0.0018 and 4.9 mg/m3, averaging 0.083 mg/m3, with the highest exposures for fettlers (0.087 mg/m3) and furnace and ladle repair workers (0.42 mg/m3). The exposure for workers using respirators assuming full effect when used were assessed quantitatively, revealing workers with actual exposure exceeding the occupational exposure limits.

Overall cancer morbidity was not increased, but the incidence of lung cancer was significantly elevated (SIR 1.61; 95 % CI 1.20-2.12). In the cohort study, significant associations between lung cancer and cumulative quartz exposure were detected for quartz doses of 1-2 mg/m3 * year (SIR 2.88; 95 % CI 1.44-5.16) and >2 mg/m3 * year (SIR 1.68; 95 % CI 1.07- 2.52). These findings were not confirmed in the case-control analysis.

The agreement between the estimated exposure in our early historical model and the development model showed a regression coefficient of 2.42, implying an underestimation of the historical exposure when using the development model data. The corresponding comparison between the development and the validation model based on our survey data showed a B of 0.31, implying an overestimation of present exposures when using data from the validation model.

The main conclusions of the thesis are that certain foundry workers are still exposed to high levels of quartz, and the overall excess lung cancer could not be confirmed in the exposure-response analysis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2012. p. 78
Series
Örebro Studies in Environmental Science, ISSN 1650-6278 ; 16
Keyword
Case-control study, crystalline silica, exposure assessment, iron foundry, lung cancer, morbidity, occupational hygiene, respirable quartz
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Enviromental Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-20620 (URN)978-91-7668-837-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-02-10, Bohmanssonsalen, B-huset, Universitetssjukhuset, Örebro, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-12-22 Created: 2011-12-22 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Westberg, Håkan

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