Department of Public Health Sciences

Estimation of the diesel exhaust exposures of railroad workers: I. Current exposures

Woskie, S. R., T. J. Smith, S. K. Hammond, M. B. Schenker, E. Garshick and F. E. Speizer

Am J Ind Med. 1988. 13(3):381-394.

As a part of a series of epidemiological studies of railroad workers, measurements were made to characterize workers' exposures to diesel exhaust. Since diesel exhaust is not a single compound, an exposure marker was sought. The personal exposures to respirable particulate matter (RPM) of over 530 workers in 39 common jobs were measured in four U.S. railroads over a three-year period. Significant amounts of cigarette smoke (20-90%) were found in many of these samples. Therefore, the respirable particulate concentration, adjusted to remove the fraction of cigarette smoke (ARP), was chosen as a marker of diesel exhaust exposures. The geometric mean exposures to ARP ranged from 17 micrograms/m3 for clerks to 134 micrograms/m3 for locomotive shop workers. Significant interrailroad variations were observed in some job groups indicating that the different facilities, equipment, and work practices found among the railroads can affect a worker's exposure to diesel exhaust. Climate was also found to have a significant effect on exposure in some job groups.

Keywords: *Air Pollutants, Occupational/analysis, Carcinogens, Environmental, Environmental Exposure, Human, Occupations, *Petroleum/analysis, *Railroads, Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S., Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S., Tobacco Smoke Pollution/analysis, Weather

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