Multiple pathway asbestos exposure assessment for a Superfund community

Curtis W. Noonan, Kathrene Conway, Erin L. Landguth, Tracy McNew, Laura Linker, Jean Pfau, Brad Black, Jaime Szeinuk, Raja Flores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Libby, MT, USA, was the home to workers at a historical vermiculite mining facility and served as the processing and distribution center for this industrial product that was contaminated with amphibole asbestos. Several pathways of environmental asbestos exposure to the general population have been identified. The local clinic and health screening program collects data from participants on past occupational and environmental exposures to vermiculite and asbestos. Health studies among this population have demonstrated associations between amphibole exposure and health outcomes, but critical questions regarding the nature and level of exposure associated with specific outcomes remain unanswered. The objective of this study was to develop a comprehensive exposure assessment approach that integrates information on individuals' contact frequency with multiple exposure pathways. For 3031 participants, we describe cumulative exposure metrics for environmental exposures, occupational exposures, and residents' contact with carry-home asbestos from household workers. As expected, cumulative exposures for all three occupational categories were higher among men compared with women, and cumulative exposures for household contact and environmental pathways were higher among women. The comprehensive exposure assessment strategies will advance health studies and risk assessment approaches in this population with a complex history of both occupational and environmental asbestos exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-25
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 11 2015

Keywords

  • Amphibole
  • Asbestos
  • Libby
  • Occupational
  • Outdoor activities
  • Residential

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