Job Exposure Matrix for Chrysotile Asbestos Fibre in the Asbestos Cement Manufacturing (ACM) Industry in Zimbabwe


Occupational chrysotile asbestos exposure data in Zimbabwe is limited. The aim of this study was therefore to develop a job exposure matrix (JEM) specific to the chrysotile asbestos cement manufacturing industry using the available personal exposure concentration data. Quantitative personal exposure chrysotile fibre concentration data collected by the two factories from 1996 to 2020 were used to construct the JEM. Exposure groups from which data was extracted were classified based on the Zimbabwe Standard Classification of Occupations (ZSCO), 2009-2019. Analysis of amphiboles in raw chrysotile was done by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). Descriptive statistics, namely mean, standard deviation and range were computed for the main variable, job/occupation. All jobs/occupations in both factories had annual mean personal exposure concentrations exceeding the OEL of 0.1 f/mL, except for the period from 2009 to 2016 in the Harare factory and the period from 2009 to 2020 in the Bulawayo factory. Despite the Harare factory having no AC manufacturing activity since 2017, personal exposure concentrations showed elevated levels for the period 2018-2020. Amphiboles were detected in almost all bulk samples of chrysotile asbestos analysed. The established JEM, which has been generated from actual local quantitative exposure measurements, can be used in evaluating historical exposure to chrysotile asbestos fibre, to better understand and predict occurrence of ARDs in future.

Authors: Benjamin Mutetwa, Dingani Moyo, Derk Brouwer
; Full Source: International journal of environmental research and public health 2022 Feb 25;19(5):2680. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19052680.