Current Chemical Exposures Among Ontario Construction Workers
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Current occupational exposures to chemical agents were assessed as part of an epidemiological study pertaining to the cancer and mortality patterns of Ontario construction workers. The task-based exposure assessment involved members from nine construction trade unions. Air samples were taken using personal sampling pumps and collection media. A DustTrak direct-reading particulate monitor was also employed. Exposure assessments included measurements of airborne respirable, inhalable, total, and silica dust; solvents; metals; asbestos; diesel exhaust and man-made mineral fibers (MMMF). In total, 396 single- or multi-component (filter/tube), 798 direct-reading, and 71 bulk samples were collected. The results showed that Ontario construction workers are exposed to potentially hazardous levels of chemical agents. The findings are similar to those reported by other researchers, except for silica exposure. In our study, silica exposure is much lower than reported elsewhere. The difficulty associated with assessing construction workers' exposures is highlighted.
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