Saf Health Work.  2016 Sep;7(3):251-255. 10.1016/j.shaw.2015.12.006.

Risk Assessment of Exposure to Silica Dust in Building Demolition Sites

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. omidileila@yahoo.com
  • 2Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • 3Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Building demolition can lead to emission of dust into the environment. Exposure to silica dust may be considered as an important hazard in these sites. The objectives of this research were to determine the amount of workers' exposure to crystalline silica dust and assess the relative risk of silicosis and the excess lifetime risk of mortality from lung cancer in demolition workers.
METHODS
Four sites in the Tehran megacity region were selected. Silica dust was collected using the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health method 7601 and determined spectrophotometrically. The Mannetje et al and Rice et al models were chosen to examine the rate of silicosis-related mortality and the excess lifetime risk of mortality from lung cancer, respectively.
RESULTS
The amount of demolition workers' exposure was in the range of 0.085-0.185 mg/m³. The range of relative risk of silicosis related mortality was increased from 1 in the workers with the lowest exposure level to 22.64/1,000 in the employees with high exposure level. The range of the excess lifetime risk of mortality from lung cancer was in the range of 32-60/1,000 exposed workers.
CONCLUSION
Geometric and arithmetic mean of exposure was higher than threshold limit value for silica dust in all demolition sites. The risk of silicosis mortality for many demolition workers was higher than 1/1,000 (unacceptable level of risk). Estimating the lifetime lung cancer mortality showed a higher risk of mortality from lung cancer in building demolition workers.

Keyword

dust; lung cancer; occupational exposure; silica; silicosis
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