Background: SYNERGY is a large pooled analysis of case-control studies on the joint effects of occupational carcinogens and smoking in the development of lung cancer. A quantitative job-exposure matrix (JEM) will be developed to assign exposures to five major lung carcinogens [asbestos, chromium, nickel, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and respirable crystalline silica (RCS)]. We assembled an exposure database, called ExpoSYN, to enable such a quantitative exposure assessment.
Methods: Existing exposure databases were identified and European and Canadian research institutes were approached to identify pertinent exposure measurement data. Results of individual air measurements were entered anonymized according to a standardized protocol.
Results: The ExpoSYN database currently includes 356 551 measurements from 19 countries. In total, 140 666 personal and 215 885 stationary data points were available. Measurements were distributed over the five agents as follows: RCS (42%), asbestos (20%), chromium (16%), nickel (15%), and PAH (7%). The measurement data cover the time period from 1951 to present. However, only a small portion of measurements (1.4%) were performed prior to 1975. The major contributing countries for personal measurements were Germany (32%), UK (22%), France (14%), and Norway and Canada (both 11%).
Conclusions: ExpoSYN is a unique occupational exposure database with measurements from 18 European countries and Canada covering a time period of >50 years. This database will be used to develop a country-, job-, and time period-specific quantitative JEM. This JEM will enable data-driven quantitative exposure assessment in a multinational pooled analysis of community-based lung cancer case-control studies.