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The use of measurement data in occupational exposure assessment allows more quantitative analyses of possible exposure–response relations. We describe a quantitative exposure assessment approach for the five lung carcinogens selected for the SYNERGY project, that is, asbestos, chromium-VI, nickel, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (by its proxy benzo(a)pyrene (BaP)) and respirable crystalline silica. A quantitative job-exposure matrix (i.e. SYN-JEM) was developed based on statistical modelling of large quantities of personal measurements.Empirical linear models were developed using personal occupational exposure measurements from Europe and Canada, as well as auxiliary information like job (industry), year of sampling, region, an a priori exposure rating of each job (none, low, and high exposed) and sampling duration. The model outcomes were used to create SYN-JEM with a quantitative estimate of the level of exposure by job, year, and region.Decreasing time trends were observed for all agents between the 1970s and 2009, ranging from −1.2% per year for personal BaP and nickel exposures to −10.7% for asbestos before a ban was implemented. Regional differences in exposure concentrations varied by agent, ranging from a factor 3.3 for chromium-VI up to a factor 10.5 for asbestos.We estimated time-, job-, and region-specific exposure levels for four (asbestos, chromium-VI, nickel, and RCS) out of the five considered lung carcinogens. Statistical modelling of large amounts of personal occupational exposure measurement data enabled the derivation of a quantitative general population JEM, which can be applied to the SYNERGY population.