An exposure-response study design is known as the most powerful design to determine associations between occupational agents and health effects in epidemiology studies. However, epidemiologists often have difficulties comparing study results based on the exposure-response design between different data sources or different countries. This problem also concerns the definition of limit values in regulation, the development of measuring instruments and strategies and the monitoring of limit values. This is due to quantitative differences of exposures caused by different measurement strategies and/or devices. Currently, in the EU a lot of data sources for data regarding various chemicals are
available. Their measured values were measured with different measuring strategies. These measurement strategies have a large influence on the measured value. For the same real exposure, different measurement strategies produce different measured values. A literature research showed that there is still no systematic comparison of this influence and the comparability of the measured values from different countries. Therefore, a PEROSH collaboration project between the different EU member states is proposed to determine the relationship of exposures between the different measurement strategies. For the present approach, we suggest to focus initially on seven occupational agents: inhalable wood dust, metals (tin or lead), respirable silica, sulfuric acid inhalable, benzene, nitrosamines, and volatile organic chemicals.
A collaboration project between the different EU member states is developed to determine the relationship of exposures between the different measurement strategies. This project includes three aims:
1. Development of a database and guidelines for sampling procedures and recruitment of workplaces,
2. Sample collection using side-by-side sample pairs while using different samplers at workplaces, and
3. Data analyses to determine the relationship of exposures between the different measurement strategies and devices to establish conversion factors.
A database will be developed where measurement parameters and conditions as well as the exposure measurements are stored. The measurements will be performed under the same conditions, applying the country specific sampling and analytical strategies. With the help of this database a comparison of exposure measurements due to different strategies can be done.
A report will be produced on the ICSS-HS project concerning the activities of the workgroup. This will be presented on a PEROSH webpage.