Mortality Among Hardmetal Production Workers: Occupational Exposures

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Objective:To generate quantitative exposure estimates for use in retrospective occupational cohort mortality studies of the hardmetal industry.Methods:Job-exposure matrices (JEMs) were constructed for cobalt, tungsten, and nickel over the time period 1952 to 2014. The JEMs consisted of job class categories, based on job titles and processes performed, and exposure estimates calculated from available company industrial hygiene measurements.Results:Exposure intervals of one-half order magnitude were established for all three agents. Eight job classes had significantly decreasing time trends for cobalt exposure; no significant time trends were detected for tungsten or nickel exposures.Conclusions:The levels of exposures determined for this study were similar to or lower than those previously reported for the hardmetal industry during the 1952 to 2014 study period.

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