Results show that approximately 6,600 Canadians are exposed to epichlorohydrin in their workplaces; 75% of these workers are male. The largest exposed industry groups are automotive repair and maintenance, paint, coating and adhesive manufacturing, and miscellaneous manufacturing (where exposure occurs in the painting and coating of sports equipment such as bicycles, skis and snowboards).
When exposure is examined by occupation, the largest exposed occupation groups are other labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities (1000 exposed), motor vehicle body repairers (1000 exposed), other assemblers and inspectors (500 exposed) and plastics processing machine operators (400 exposed).
Data Sources & Methods
Data used in developing the occupational estimates for epichlorohydrin were collected from several sources:
- The Canadian Workplace Exposure Database (CWED) contains over 200 measurements for epichlorohydrin 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 epichlorohydrin exposure in Canada and the United States.
- Grey literature including technical reports from governments and international bodies.
Prevalence Estimate Method
CAREX defines exposure to epichlorohydrin as inhalation exposure at work to levels greater that those encountered in the environment.
To determine the number of workers potentially exposed to epichlorohydrin 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 epichlorohydrin.
- Occupations and industries at risk of possible exposure to epichlorohydrin 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 epichlorohydrin.