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My colleague Professor John Cherrie once said that we know more about the number of birds breeding in British meadows each year (see http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/pdf/BBSreport12_web.pdf) than the number of workers exposed to carcinogens in the workplace. It is clearly important to monitor bird populations, but I would consider it of at least equal importance to know what hazardous agents workers are exposed to. However, there are few data sources that can provide accurate information on the prevalence of occupational exposures.
In the early 1990s, Timo Kauppinen at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health led a team that aimed to estimate the prevalence of occupational exposure in 55 industries for 15 member states of the European Union (EU).1 This CAREX system has been extensively used in surveillance and burden of disease studies as well as by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) within the Monograph series. Since the publication of the original CAREX system some countries have been added to CAREX (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic)2 while estimates have been updated for some countries including Italy).3 CAREX was adapted for several countries in Central America,4 ,5 while researchers in New Zealand recently also developed a CAREX system.6
In this issue of the OEM, Peters et al7 describe …
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