Proceedings paper

Scand J Work Environ Health 1995;21 suppl 2:39-43    pdf

Historical total and respirable silica dust exposure levels in mines and pottery factories in China

by Dosemeci M, McLaughlin JK, Chen J-Q, Hearl F, Chen R-G, McCawley M, Wu Z, Peng K-L, Chen A-L, Rexing SH, Blot WJ

Historical exposure estimates of total dust and respirable silica were made in a recent nested case-referent study of lung cancer among mine and pottery workers in China. Exposure to total dust and respirable silica was assessed in 20 mines and 9 pottery factories. The average total dust concentration was 7.26 mg·m-3, with a range from 17.68 mg·m-3 in the 1950s to 3.85 mg·m-3 in the 1980s, while the average respirable silica dust was 1.22 mg·m-3, with a range from 3.89 mg·m-3 in the 1950s to 0.43 mg·m-3 in the 1980s. The highest respirable silica dust occurred in the underground mining operations (1.43 mg·m-3), particularly for manual drillers (9.03 mg·m-3). Among all facility types, tungsten mines had the highest respirable silica dust exposure (1.75 mg·m-3), while the lowest exposure occurred in copper-iron mines (0.32 mg·m-3).