Objectives: Synthetic amorphous silicas (SASs) are nanostructured polymorphs of silicon dioxide. We compared two different exposure assessments.
Methods: This study estimated cumulative exposure to inhalable SAS dust in 484 male workers from five German SAS-producing plants. Two procedures (P1 and P2) were applied. P1 was based on an expert assessment. P2 was a multiple exposure assessment (15 scenarios) anchored by a recent measurement series (1375 personal measurements of inhalable SAS dust concentration) and used expert assessments.
Results: Cumulative exposure estimates for P1 averaged 56.9 mg/m3·yrs (range, 0.1 to 419); for a selected P2 scenario, the mean was 31.8 mg/m3·yrs (range, 0.4 to 480), (P < 0.0001). Averages varied between the 15 P2-scenarios from 12.6 to 109.6 mg/m3·yrs. Different time trends for SAS concentrations were observed.
Conclusions: Both approaches suffer from considerable uncertainties that need to be considered in epidemiological studies.