Occupational Exposure to Mineral Fibres: Analysis of Results Stored on Colchic Database

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The aim of this paper is to present fibre exposure data recorded on the COLCHIC database. This database consolidates all occupational exposure data collected in French companies by the Caisses Régionales d'Assurance Maladie (regional health insurance funds, CRAM) and the Institut National de Recherche et de Sécurité (national institute for research and safety, INRS). A total of 8029 concentration results, expressed in number of fibres measured by phase-contrast optical microscopy, are available for exposure to asbestos fibres, ceramic fibres and man-made mineral fibres other than ceramic fibres. Presentation of base data by activity branch, activity sector or workplace permits identification of situations, for which prevention efforts are most essential. Analysis of exposure levels during the 1986–2004 period show that these are broadly influenced by changes in the exposure limit values. Wearing of respiratory protection equipment by employees is also discussed. The data may be helpful to occupational physicians performing occupational screening of exposed workers and to epidemiologists seeking information for building job-exposures matrices. In this respect, a database (FIBREX) will be available on the INRS web site (www.inrs.fr) at the beginning of 2007. This database will provide a higher level of detail in activity and workplace description than that which was possible for practical reasons in this paper.

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