Historical asbestos measurements in Denmark—A national database

Tidsskriftartikel - 2022


Objectives: Due to the long lag-time for health outcomes, historical asbestos exposure measurements are valuable to support assessments of associated occupational health effects, and also to assess time trends and effects of preventive measures. Methods: Different sources of stored data were collated, assessed and refined to create a harmonized database on historical asbestos fibre concentrations measured in specific work tasks and different industries. The final database contains 9236 asbestos measurements from Danish workplaces collected from 1971 to 1997. Results: The geometric mean of asbestos concentrations in different occupations and tasks ranged from 0.003 to 35 fibres cm−3. Highest concentrations were registered during handling of asbestos products in the construction services during the period 1981–1997. Although all the measured asbestos exposures without the use of respiratory equipment by the worker in the period of 1971–1997 exceeded the current 8-h time-weighted average exposure limit of 0.1 fibres cm−3, the majority of samples collected in the earlier period of 1971 to 1980 did not exceed the exposure limit of 2 fibres cm−3, which was in place at the time. All exposure data obtained from 1980 and onwards were found to be one seventh of the mean fibre concentrations in the previous measurement period. The impact of time shows a clear exponentially decreasing trend-line. Conclusions: Despite limitations in coverage of different occupations and tasks associated with the inventoried historical asbestos measurements, the data are helpful to identify specific work scenarios within an industry, where relatively high asbestos exposure levels may still occur or have occurred from 1971 to 1997.


Fonseca AS, Jørgensen AK, Larsen BX, Moser-Johansen M, Flachs EM, Ebbehøj NE, Bønløkke JH, Østergaard TO, Bælum J, Sherson DL, Schlünssen V, Meyer HW, Jensen KA. Historical asbestos measurements in Denmark—A national database. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2022;19:1.
doi: 10.3390/ijerph19020643

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