Agreement between qualitative exposure estimates and quantitative exposure measurements

Am J Ind Med. 1987;12(5):551-62. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700120509.


A method for qualitative estimation of the exposure at task level was used and validated with actual measurements in five small factories. The results showed that occupational hygienists were in general the most successful estimators. Plant supervisors and workers handled the estimation method less successfully because of more misclassification of the tasks. The method resulted, in general, in a classification of tasks in four exposure categories ranging from no exposure to high exposure. The exposure categories correlated positively with mean concentrations, but showed overlapping exposure distributions. This resulted in misclassification of the exposure for individual workers when a relatively large interindividual variability in exposure levels within an exposure category was present. The results show that this method can be used for workplace exposure zoning, but that the usefulness of the estimates for epidemiological purposes is not clear-cut and depends strongly on the actual exposure characteristics within a workplace. A combination of the qualitative exposure estimation method together with assessment of the exposure levels by measurements makes a rearrangement of tasks or individual workers possible and could improve the validity of this method for epidemiological purposes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Maximum Allowable Concentration
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / prevention & control