Estimation of the diesel exhaust exposures of railroad workers: I. Current exposures

Am J Ind Med. 1988;13(3):381-94. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700130307.


As a part of a series of epidemiological studies of railroad workers, measurements were made to characterize workers' exposures to diesel exhaust. Since diesel exhaust is not a single compound, an exposure marker was sought. The personal exposures to respirable particulate matter (RPM) of over 530 workers in 39 common jobs were measured in four U.S. railroads over a three-year period. Significant amounts of cigarette smoke (20-90%) were found in many of these samples. Therefore, the respirable particulate concentration, adjusted to remove the fraction of cigarette smoke (ARP), was chosen as a marker of diesel exhaust exposures. The geometric mean exposures to ARP ranged from 17 micrograms/m3 for clerks to 134 micrograms/m3 for locomotive shop workers. Significant interrailroad variations were observed in some job groups indicating that the different facilities, equipment, and work practices found among the railroads can affect a worker's exposure to diesel exhaust. Climate was also found to have a significant effect on exposure in some job groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational* / analysis
  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Occupations
  • Petroleum* / analysis
  • Railroads*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / analysis
  • Weather


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Carcinogens, Environmental
  • Petroleum
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution