Temporal trends in respirable dust and respirable quartz concentrations within the European industrial sector over a 15-year period (2002-2016)

2020-02-07

OBJECTIVES:

Since 2000 the European Industrial Minerals Association’s Dust Monitoring Programme (IMA-DMP) has systematically collected respirable dust and respirable quartz measurements from 35 companies producing industrial minerals. The IMA-DMP initiative allowed for estimating overall temporal trends in exposure concentrations for the years 2002-2016 and for presenting these trends by type of mineral produced, by jobs performed and by time of enrolment into the DMP.

METHODS:

Approximately 32?000 personal exposure measurements were collected during 29 sampling campaigns during a 15-year period (2002-2016). Temporal trends in respirable dust and respirable quartz concentrations were studied by using linear mixed effects models.

RESULTS:

Concentrations varied widely (up to three to four orders of magnitude). However, overall decreases in exposure levels were shown for the European minerals industry over the 15-year period. Statistically significant overall downward temporal trends of -9.0% and -3.9% per year were observed for respirable dust and respirable quartz, respectively. When analyses were stratified by time period, no downward trends (and even slight increasing concentrations) were observed between 2008 and 2012, most likely attributable to the recent global economic crisis. After this time period, downward trends became visible again.

CONCLUSIONS:

Consistent and statistically significant downward trends were found for both exposure to respirable dust and respirable quartz. These downward trends became less or even reversed during the years of the global economic crisis. To our knowledge, this is the first time that analyses of long-term temporal trends point at an effect of a global economic crisis on personal exposure concentrations of workers from sites across Europe.

Authors:Zilaout H, Houba R, Kromhout H
; Full Source: Occupational and environmental medicine. 2020 Feb 7. pii: oemed-2019-106074. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2019-106074. [Epub ahead of print]