Development of Quantitative Estimates of Wood Dust Exposure in a Canadian General Population Job-Exposure Matrix Based on Past Expert Assessments

Ann Work Expo Health. 2019 Jan 7;63(1):22-33. doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxy083.


Objectives: The CANJEM general population job-exposure matrix summarizes expert evaluations of 31 673 jobs from four population-based case-control studies of cancer conducted in Montreal, Canada. Intensity in each CANJEM cell is represented as relative distributions of the ordinal (low, medium, high) ratings of jobs assigned by the experts. We aimed to apply quantitative concentrations to CANJEM cells using Canadian historical measurements from the Canadian Workplace Exposure Database (CWED), taking exposure to wood dust as an example.

Methods: We selected 5170 personal and area wood dust measurements from 31 occupations (2011 Canadian National Occupational Classification) with a non-zero exposure probability in CANJEM between 1930 and 2005. The measurements were taken between 1981 and 2003 (median 1989). A Bayesian hierarchical model was applied to the wood dust concentrations with occupations as random effects, and sampling duration, year, sample type (area or personal), province, and the relative proportion of jobs exposed at medium and high intensity in CANJEM cells as fixed effects.

Results: The estimated geometric mean (GM) concentrations for a CANJEM cell with all jobs exposed at medium or high intensity were respectively 1.3 and 2.4 times higher relative to a cell with all jobs at low intensity. An overall trend of -3%/year in exposure was observed. Applying the model estimates to all 198 cells in CANJEM with some exposure assigned by the experts, the predicted 8-hour, personal wood dust GM concentrations by occupation for 1989 ranged from 0.48 to 1.96 mg m-3.

Conclusions: The model provided estimates of wood dust concentrations for any CANJEM cell with exposure, applicable for quantitative risk assessment at the population level. This framework can be implemented for other agents represented in both CANJEM and CWED.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Canada
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Databases, Factual
  • Dust / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Occupations / classification
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Wood*


  • Dust