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Articles by L Portengen
Total Records ( 3 ) for L Portengen
  R Vermeulen , J. B Coble , D Yereb , J. H Lubin , A Blair , L Portengen , P. A Stewart , M Attfield and D. T. Silverman

Diesel exhaust (DE) has been implicated as a potential lung carcinogen. However, the exact components of DE that might be involved have not been clearly identified. In the past, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon oxides (COx) were measured most frequently to estimate DE, but since the 1990s, the most commonly accepted surrogate for DE has been elemental carbon (EC). We developed quantitative estimates of historical exposure levels of respirable elemental carbon (REC) for an epidemiologic study of mortality, particularly lung cancer, among diesel-exposed miners by back-extrapolating 1998–2001 REC exposure levels using historical measurements of carbon monoxide (CO). The choice of CO was based on the availability of historical measurement data. Here, we evaluated the relationship of REC with CO and other current and historical components of DE from side-by-side area measurements taken in underground operations of seven non-metal mining facilities. The Pearson correlation coefficient of the natural log-transformed (Ln)REC measurements with the Ln(CO) measurements was 0.4. The correlation of REC with the other gaseous, organic carbon (OC), and particulate measurements ranged from 0.3 to 0.8. Factor analyses indicated that the gaseous components, including CO, together with REC, loaded most strongly on a presumed ‘Diesel exhaust’ factor, while the OC and particulate agents loaded predominantly on other factors. In addition, the relationship between Ln(REC) and Ln(CO) was approximately linear over a wide range of REC concentrations. The fact that CO correlated with REC, loaded on the same factor, and increased linearly in log–log space supported the use of CO in estimating historical exposure levels to DE.

  R Vermeulen , J. B Coble , J. H Lubin , L Portengen , A Blair , M. D Attfield , D. T Silverman and P. A. Stewart

We developed quantitative estimates of historical exposures to respirable elemental carbon (REC) for an epidemiologic study of mortality, including lung cancer, among diesel-exposed miners at eight non-metal mining facilities [the Diesel Exhaust in Miners Study (DEMS)]. Because there were no historical measurements of diesel exhaust (DE), historical REC (a component of DE) levels were estimated based on REC data from monitoring surveys conducted in 1998–2001 as part of the DEMS investigation. These values were adjusted for underground workers by carbon monoxide (CO) concentration trends in the mines derived from models of historical CO (another DE component) measurements and DE determinants such as engine horsepower (HP; 1 HP = 0.746 kW) and mine ventilation. CO was chosen to estimate historical changes because it was the most frequently measured DE component in our study facilities and it was found to correlate with REC exposure. Databases were constructed by facility and year with air sampling data and with information on the total rate of airflow exhausted from the underground operations in cubic feet per minute (CFM) (1 CFM = 0.0283 m3 min–1), HP of the diesel equipment in use (ADJ HP), and other possible determinants. The ADJ HP purchased after 1990 (ADJ HP1990+) was also included to account for lower emissions from newer, cleaner engines. Facility-specific CO levels, relative to those in the DEMS survey year for each year back to the start of dieselization (1947–1967 depending on facility), were predicted based on models of observed CO concentrations and log-transformed (Ln) ADJ HP/CFM and Ln(ADJ HP1990+). The resulting temporal trends in relative CO levels were then multiplied by facility/department/job-specific REC estimates derived from the DEMS surveys personal measurements to obtain historical facility/department/job/year-specific REC exposure estimates. The facility-specific temporal trends of CO levels (and thus the REC estimates) generated from these models indicated that CO concentrations had been generally greater in the past than during the 1998–2001 DEMS surveys, with the highest levels ranging from 100 to 685% greater (median: 300%). These levels generally occurred between 1970 and the early 1980s. A comparison of the CO facility-specific model predictions with CO air concentration measurements from a 1976–1977 survey external to the modeling showed that our model predictions were slightly lower than those observed (median relative difference of 29%; range across facilities: 49 to –25%). In summary, we successfully modeled past CO concentration levels using selected determinants of DE exposure to derive retrospective estimates of REC exposure. The results suggested large variations in REC exposure levels both between and within the underground operations of the facilities and over time. These REC exposure estimates were in a plausible range and were used in the investigation of exposure–response relationships in epidemiologic analyses.

  M Agostini , G Ferro , A Olsson , I Burstyn , F De Vocht , J Hansen , C Funch Lassen , C Johansen , K Kjaerheim , S Langard , I Stucker , W Ahrens , T Behrens , M. L Lindbohm , P Heikkila , D Heederik , L Portengen , J Shaham , P Boffetta and H. Kromhout

Objective: Development of a method for retrospective assessment of exposure to bitumen fume, bitumen condensate, organic vapour, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and co-exposures to known or suspected lung carcinogens for a nested case–control study of lung cancer mortality among European asphalt workers.

Methods: Company questionnaires and structured questionnaires used in interviews and industry-specific job-exposure matrices (JEMs) were elaborated and applied. Three sources of information were eventually used for exposure assessment and assignment: (i) data obtained in cohort phase, (ii) data from living subjects, next-of-kin, and fellow-workers questionnaires, and (iii) JEMs for bitumen exposure by inhalation and via skin and co-exposures to known or suspected lung carcinogens within and outside cohort companies. Inhalation and dermal exposure estimates for bitumen were adjusted for time trends, time spent in a job, and other determinants of exposure (e.g. oil gravel paving). Clothing patterns, personal protective devices, and personal hygiene were taken into consideration while estimating dermal exposure.

Results: Occupational exposures could be assessed for 433 cases and 1253 controls for relevant time periods. Only 43% of work histories were spent inside original asphalt and construction companies. A total of 95.8% of job periods in cohort companies could be coded at a more detailed level. Imputation of work time and ‘hygienic behaviour’ multipliers was needed for <10% of work history years. Overall, downward trends in exposure were present and differences existed between countries and companies. As expected, correlations were strongest (r > 0.7) among bitumen-related agents, while correlations between coal tar, bitumen-related agents, and established lung carcinogens were weaker (r < 0.4).

Conclusions: A systematic and detailed approach was developed to estimate inhalation and dermal exposure for a nested case–control study among asphalt workers.

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