A Quantitative Retrospective Exposure Assessment for Former Chrysotile Asbestos Miners and Millers from Baie Verte, NL, Canada


Despite numerous studies of asbestos workers in the epidemiologic literature, there are very few cohort studies of chrysotile asbestos miners/millers that include high-quality retrospective exposure assessments. As part of the creation of the Baie Verte Miners’ Registry in 2008, a two-dimensional job exposure matrix (JEM) was developed for estimating asbestos exposures for former chrysotile asbestos miners/millers. Industrial hygiene data collected between 1963 and 1994 were analysed to assess validity for use in a retrospective exposure assessment and epidemiologic study. Registered former employees were divided into 52 exposure groups (EGs) based on job title and department and mean asbestos concentrations were calculated for each EG. The resulting exposure estimates were linked to individual registrants’ work histories allowing for the calculation of cumulative asbestos exposure for each registrant. The distribution of exposure for most EGs (82.6%) could be described as fitting a log-normal distribution, although variability within some EGs (55%) exceeded a geometric standard deviation (GSD) of 2.5. Overall, the data used to create EGs in the development of the JEM were deemed to be of adequate quality for estimating cumulative asbestos exposures for the former employees of the Baie Verte asbestos mine/mill. The variability between workers in the same job was often high and is an important factor to be considered when using estimates of cumulative asbestos exposure to adjudicate compensation claims. The exposures experienced in this cohort were comparable to those of other chrysotile asbestos miners/millers cohorts, specifically Italian and Québec cohorts.

Authors: Tina Giles Murphy, Stephen Bornstein, John Oudyk, Paul A Demers
; Full Source: Annals of work exposures and health 2020 Sep 22;wxaa092. doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxaa092.