Development of a job exposure matrix (JEM) for the textile industry in Shanghai, China

J Occup Environ Hyg. 2006 Oct;3(10):521-9. doi: 10.1080/15459620600902166.


We developed a job exposure matrix (JEM) for the Shanghai textile industry constructed along three axes: industry sector, textile process, and hazardous agent. We assessed 35 different categories of dust, chemical, and physical agents for 149 textile processes within nine industry sectors: cotton, cotton/synthetic, cotton/other (nonsynthetic), wool, silk, synthetic, mineral, other mixed (e.g., wool and synthetic), and nonproduction. The JEM was constructed from two components: a priori assessment of the textile process by a team of U.S. industrial hygienists, and the prevalence of exposures reported by Chinese industrial hygienists in specific textile processes within the factory. The JEM was applied to an ongoing case-cohort study of cancer in women textile workers. The JEM assessed only dichotomous exposure (ever/never), and could be coupled with cumulative exposure by years of employment. The most common exposures in cotton mills were cotton dust and solvent exposures. Dyeing processes had the highest frequency of exposures, including solvents, acids, bases and caustics, bleaching agents, dyes, dye chemicals and intermediates, and formaldehyde. Only two processes were identified with formaldehyde exposure, beck dyeing and resin finishing. The most prevalent exposures among the subcohort, occurring in more than 60% of the women, were electromagnetic fields, lubricants, and cotton dust. More than one-third of subcohort subjects were also exposed to synthetic fiber dust, and slightly less than one-third of women were exposed to endotoxin. This JEM could be applicable for epidemiologic research in other textile industries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • China
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / classification*
  • Occupational Exposure / standards
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Textile Industry / standards*