Results show that nearly 2,000 Canadians are exposed to 1,2-dichloroethane in their workplaces; 76% of these workers are male. The largest industrial groups exposed are basic chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, and soap, cleaning compound and toilet preparation manufacturing (Table 2). Other important industries associated with 1,2-dichloroethane exposure involve the treatment and management of waste (remediation and other waste management services, waste treatment and disposal and management, scientific and technical consulting services).
When exposure is examined by occupation, the largest exposed group is chemical plant machine operators (400 workers exposed), followed by petroleum, gas and chemical process operators (400 workers exposed), labourers in chemical products processing and utilities (200 workers exposed) and material handlers (200 workers exposed).
Data Sources & Methods
Data used in developing the occupational estimates for 1,2-dichloroethane were collected from several sources:
- The Canadian Workplace Exposure Database (CWED) contains less than 100 measurements for 1,2-dichloroethane exposure. These measurements were collected during the years 1981 to 2004 in Ontario and British Columbia workplaces.
- Canadian and US scientific peer reviewed publications that addressed 1,2-dichloroethane exposure in Canada and the United States.
- Grey literature including technical reports from governments and international bodies.
Prevalence Estimate Method
CAREX defines exposure to 1,2-dichloroethane as inhalation at work to levels significantly exceeding non-occupational background levels.
To determine the number of workers potentially exposed to 1,2-dichloroethane at work, CAREX occupational exposure experts used methods previously established in other peer-reviewed CAREX projects in Europe. A series of steps were taken to assign exposure proportions to occupations and industries at risk of exposure to 1,2-dichloroethane.
- Occupations and industries at risk of possible exposure to 1,2-dichloroethane were identified using any combination of data sources described above.
- The total number of workers in each identified occupation and industry intersection was obtained from Statistics Canada 2006 census data.
- A percentage of workers exposed was assigned to that occupation and industry intersection. Percentages were determined by consultation with existing evidence in the data sources, previously established methods from the Europe CAREX estimates and the expert judgement of CAREX occupational hygienists.
- The number of workers in the identified group is multiplied by the assigned percentage to calculate the prevalence estimate of workers exposed to 1,2-dichloroethane.