Current and historical individual data about exposure of workers in the rayon industry to carbon disulfide and their validity in calculating the cumulative dose
Introduction The objective of the study was to investigate how exposure to carbon disulfide (CS2) in a rayon-manufacturing plant has changed within two decades and whether it is possible to calculate valid data for the individual cumulative exposure.
Methods The data for CS2 concentration in air and biological exposure monitoring (2-thio-1,3-thiaxolidine-4-carboxylic acid (TTCA) in urine) from two cross-sectional studies, performed in 1992 (n = 362) and 2009 (n = 212) in a German rayon-manufacturing plant, were compared to data obtained from company-internal measurements between the studies.
Results Using the data from the cross-sectional studies and company-internal data, cumulative external exposure and the cumulative internal exposure were calculated for each worker. External and internal CS2 exposure of the employees decreased from 1992 (medians 4.0 ppm and 1.63 mgTTCA/g creatinine) to 2009 (medians 2.5 ppm and 0.86 mg/g). However, company-internal CS2 data do not show a straight trend for this period. The annual medians of the company-internal measurement of external exposure to CS2 have varied between 2.7 and 8.4 ppm, in which median values exceeded 5 ppm generally since 2000. The annual medians for the company-internal biomonitoring assessment ranged between 1.2 and 2.8 mg/g creatinine. The cumulative CS2 exposure ranged from 8.5 to 869.5 ppm years for external exposure and between 1.30 and 176.2 mg/g creatinine years for the internal exposure. Significant correlations were found between the current air pollution and the internal exposure in 2009 but also between the cumulative external and internal CS2 exposure.
Conclusions Current exposure data, usually collected in cross-sectional studies, rarely allow a reliable statement on the cumulative dose, because of higher exposure in the past and of fluctuating courses of exposure. On the other hand, company-internal exposure data may be affected by non-representative measurement strategies. Some verification of the reliability of cumulative exposure data may be possible by testing the correlation between cumulative exposure data of external assessment and biological monitoring.