Results show that approximately 4,300 Canadians are occupationally exposed to pentachlorophenol (PCP); 81% of these workers are male. The largest industrial groups exposed are farming (where PCP is encountered via the handling of fence posts), power generation and transmission, and wood preservation facilities.
Results are similar when exposure is examined by occupation, the largest exposed groups are farmers and farm workers (2,300 exposed) and electrical power line and cable workers (1,000 exposed).
Data Sources & Methods
Data used in developing the occupational estimates for pentachlorophenol (PCP) were collected from several sources:
- The Canadian Workplace Exposure Database (CWED) contains approximately 500 measurements for PCP 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 PCP exposure in Canada and the United States.
- Grey literature including technical reports from governments and international bodies.
Prevalence Estimate Method
CAREX defines exposure to PCP as inhalation or dermal exposure at work to levels likely to exceed non-occupational exposure.
To determine the number of workers potentially exposed to PCP 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 PCP.
- Occupations and industries at risk of possible exposure to PCP 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 PCP.