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MS SYNERGY collaboration – occupational factors in lung cancer
Quantitative occupational exposure assessment in community-based studies: the SYNERGY experience
  1. Susan Peters1,
  2. Roel Vermeulen1,
  3. Ann Olsson2,
  4. Rainer Van Gelder3,
  5. Benjamin Kendzia4,
  6. Raymond Vincent5,
  7. Barbara Savary5,
  8. Nick Williams6,
  9. Torill Woldbaek7,
  10. Jérôme Lavoué8,
  11. Domenico Cavallo14,
  12. Andrea Cattaneo9,
  13. Dario Mirabelli10,
  14. Nils Plato11,
  15. Dirk Dahmann12,
  16. Joelle Fevotte13,
  17. Beate Pesch4,
  18. Thomas Brüning4,
  19. Kurt Straif2,
  20. Hans Kromhout1
  1. 1IRAS, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2IARC, Lyon, France
  3. 3Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Sankt Augustin, Germany
  4. 4IPA, Bochum, Germany
  5. 5Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité, Vandoeuvre lès Nancy, France
  6. 6Health & Safety Executive, Bootle, UK
  7. 7NIOH, Oslo, Norway
  8. 8University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada
  9. 9Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
  10. 10University of Turin, Turin, Italy
  11. 11Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  12. 12IGF-BG, Bochum, Germany
  13. 13InVS, St. Maurice, France
  14. 14Università degli Studi dell'Insubria, Como, Italy


Objectives Occupational exposure assessment is one of the major challenges for retrospective community-based epidemiological studies. Having access to workplaces where study subjects spent their working days is basically impossible. Within the SYNERGY project we set out to test the feasibility of using existing measurement databases and measurement data from research institutes to estimate quantitatively occupational exposure to five major lung carcinogens.

Methods Exposure data collection started September 2007 and finished August 2010. Existing exposure databases were identified and research institutes were approached in order to identify pertinent exposure measurement data. Individual air measurements data were entered following a standardized protocol.

Results ExpoSYN database currently includes almost 370 000 personal and stationary air measurements from 21 mainly European countries. Measurements are distributed as follows: respirable crystalline silica (44%), asbestos (20%), chromium (16%), nickel (14%), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (7%). Measurement data cover a time period from 1951 until present, but great majority of measurements were collected after 1975. Quality of data differed considerably between data sources and we noted that information on sampling purpose and strategy was not always available in an informative way. In addition, other exposure concentration affecting variables like sampling and analytical methods were closely linked to country of origin of measurements, and therefore hampering adequate adjustment.

Conclusions We have created a unique occupational exposure database covering a time period of more than 50 years. This database is being used to develop a country-, job-, and time-period-specific quantitative job exposure matrix (SYNJEM). SYNJEM will enable data-driven quantitative exposure assessment in the SYNERGY project.

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