Introduction The prevalence and level of exposure for each assessed agent was estimated for every European member state and relevant industry. These estimates provided the basis for the heath impact assessment. Detailed exposure data were unavailable for many member states and industries. The strategies used to create these estimates using limited available data will be discussed using the estimates produced for respirable crystalline silica (RCS) as an example.
Methodology For 18 out of 25 assessed agents data from the CAREX project were used to estimate exposure prevalence. The proportion of exposed workers in each industry was averaged across countries for which data from 2000 or later were available. The average proportion was multiplied by the number of employees in the industry in each of the remaining member states in 2006 (from the Structural Business Statistics and Labour Force Survey available from EUROSTAT) to estimate the number of exposed workers. For agents that were not included in CAREX, exposure prevalence was estimated using data from trade associations and other stakeholders; from available exposure databases; or by assuming that all workers in exposed industries were exposed.
The level of exposure was assessed using data from the published scientific literature, European Risk Assessment Reports, exposure databases, and trade associations. Industries were classified as high, medium or low exposure and a representative geometric mean (GM) and geometric standard deviation (GSD) was selected for each “medium” and “high” exposure industry. The overall weighted GM and GSD for each substance was estimated across all medium/high exposed industries with Monte Carlo simulation.
Discussion Due to limited data availability, estimates were conservative in every instance. Had more data been available both the prevalence and exposure level estimates may have been lower, demonstrating the need for exposure measurement data from industry to be made available for research.
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