Epichlorohydrin Occupational Exposures

Epichlorohydrin Occupational Exposures

Overview

Exposure may occur through inhalation, ingestion, or dermal contact when epichlorohydrin is produced and/or synthesized in occupational settings.[1] CAREX Canada estimates that approximately 5,400 Canadians are exposed to epichlorohydrin in their workplace.

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Exposure typically occurs in the following industries: automotive repair and maintenance, other miscellaneous manufacturing, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, and paint, coating, and adhesive manufacturing. The largest exposed occupational groups are other labourers in processing, manufacturing, and utilities; motor vehicle body repairers; other products assemblers, finishers and inspectors; and machinists and machining and tooling inspectors.

Prevalence Estimate

Results show that approximately 5,400 Canadians are exposed to epichlorohydrin in their workplaces; 77% of these workers are male. The largest exposed industry groups are automotive repair and maintenance, other miscellaneous manufacturing (where exposure occurs in the painting and coating of sports equipment such as bicycles, skis and snowboards), aerospace product and parts manufacturing, and paint, coating, and adhesive manufacturing. The largest exposed occupational groups are other labourers in processing, manufacturing, and utilities; motor vehicle body repairers; other products assemblers, finishers and inspectors; and machinists and machining and tooling inspectors

When exposure is examined by occupation, the largest exposed occupation groups are other labourers in processing, manufacturing, and utilities (1,100 workers exposed); motor vehicle body repairers (920 workers exposed); other products assemblers, finishers and inspectors (385 workers exposed); and machinists and machining and tooling inspectors (350 workers exposed).

The number of workers exposed to epichlorohydrin decreased by approximately 1,100 workers from 2006 to 2016 (a 17% decrease). This was primarily driven by a decrease in the number of workers in the manufacturing industry. The proportions of workers exposed to epichlorohydrin in 2016 were also adjusted to account for the addition of epichlorohydrin to the cosmetic ingredient hotlist in 2010, and for a new use of epichlorohydrin in a specific type of adhesive.

Workers exposed to epichlorohydrin by industry in 2016

Workers exposed to epichlorohydrin by region in 2016

Click the second tab to view total number of workers exposed.

* = < 50 workers
Methods and Data

Our Occupational Approach page outlines the general approach used to calculate prevalence and exposure level estimates for workplace exposures.

Data Sources

Data used in developing the occupational estimates for epichlorohydrin were collected from several sources:

  1. 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.
  2. Canadian and US scientific peer reviewed publications that addressed epichlorohydrin exposure in Canada and the United States.
  3. 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.

  1. Occupations and industries at risk of possible exposure to epichlorohydrin were identified using any combination of data sources described above.
  2. The total number of workers in each identified occupation and industry intersection was obtained from Statistics Canada 2016 census data.
  3. 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.
  4. The number of workers in the identified group is multiplied by the assigned percentage to calculate the prevalence estimate of workers exposed to epichlorohydrin.
Sources

1. National Toxicology Program (NTP). 14th report on carcinogens for Arsenic Compounds, Inorganic (2016) (PDF)

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