Results show that approximately 4,800 Canadians are exposed to creosotes in their workplaces; 93% of these workers are male. The largest industrial group exposed is sawmills and wood preservation. Other important exposed industry groups are electric power generation, transmission and distribution, rail transportation, and utility system construction.
When exposure is examined by occupation, the largest exposed groups are labourers in wood, pulp and paper processing (1,200 exposed), electrical power line and cable workers (900 exposed) and construction trades helpers and labourers (600 exposed).
Data Sources & Methods
Data used in developing the occupational estimates for creosotes were collected from several sources:
- Canadian and US scientific peer reviewed publications that addressed creosote exposure in Canada and the United States.
- Grey literature including technical reports from governments and international bodies.
Prevalence Estimate Method
CAREX defines exposure to creosotes as the potential for inhalation or dermal contact with creosotes at work at levels exceeding those encountered in non-occupational settings.
To determine the number of workers potentially exposed to creosotes 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 creosotes.
- Occupations and industries at risk of possible exposure to creosotes 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 creosotes.