A Job-Exposure Matrix For The Assessment Of Alkylphenolic Compounds

Laura COSTAS, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Spain
SILVIA D. 1,2,3 , YOLANDA B. 1,3 , MANOLIS K. 3,6,7,8 , JUAN A. 5 , DELPHINE C. 1,3 , MARTA D. 4 , ANNA O. 4 , MARIA TERESA M. 4

1 Unit of Infections and Cancer. Cancer Epidemiology Research Programme. IDIBELL. Catalan Institute of Oncology. Barcelona, Spain
2 Department of Medicine. University of Barcelona. Barcelona, Spain
3 CIBER Epidemiologia y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain
4 Institut de Seguretat i Salut Laboral. Departament d'Empresa i Ocupació. Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
5 Department of Environmental Biology and Public Health. Huelva University, Huelva, Spain
6 Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
7 Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain
8 National School of Public Health, Athens, Greece

Introduction: Alkylphenolic compounds are ubiquitous chemicals with endocrine disrupting properties used as surfactants but having a wide range of other applications. Biologic matrices commonly used in epidemiologic studies, such as blood serum or plasma are not sensitive enough and susceptible to contamination. To overcome these limitations, we developed a job-exposure matrix (JEM) to assess occupational exposure to alkylphenolic compounds in the MCC-Spain study, and that can be used in many other epidemiological studies.
Methods: The MCC-Spain study on cancer involved more than 10,000 participants in 12 Spanish provinces. Occupational history was assessed for all jobs held for at least 1 year, and more than 28,000 occupational registries were collected. To construct the JEM, we consulted multiple sources of information, and performed interviews with nine key people from industry and academia. Three hygienists coded frequency (minority/majority of workers involved) and intensity of exposure (including dispersive processes, with shaking, or aerosol generation, or otherwise) to alkylphenolic compounds for all the 390 ISCO-88 job titles by periods of time.
Results: We identified 57 (14.6%) out of 390 ISCO-88 job titles with potential exposure to alkylphenolic compounds. In 6 of jobs deemed as exposed, exposure depended on the economic sector. Nonylphenol ethoxylates were the compounds most commonly involved (33 job titles). Use of alkylphenolic compounds varied greatly over time; while they are still used in the plastic and rubber industry, their use began to decline before 1995 in domestic cleaning agents. Preliminary results on associations between alkylphenolic compounds and cancer in the MCC-Spain will be presented at the conference.
Discussion: We built a JEM to assess exposure to alkylphenolic compounds, taking into account changes in use over time, and different types of alkylphenolic compounds, that can be a valuable tool for exposure assessment in epidemiologic research on the health effects of these chemicals.