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Development of a Job Exposure Matrix for Noise in the Swedish Soft Tissue Paper Industry

Journal article
Authors R. L. Neitzel
Marianne Andersson
Helena Eriksson
Kjell Torén
Eva Andersson
Published in Annals of Work Exposures and Health
Volume 62
Issue 2
Pages 195-209
ISSN 2398-7308
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Section of Occupational and environmental medicine
Pages 195-209
Language en
Keywords exposure assessment, hearing loss, job-exposure matrix, noise exposure, induced hearing-loss, occupational noise, myocardial-infarction, respiratory symptoms, cancer morbidity, workers, cohort, risk, epidemiology, firefighters
Subject categories Occupational medicine


Objectives: Noise exposure is a common occupational hazard, but has not been sufficiently characterized in paper mills. We developed a job-exposure matrix (JEM) for noise exposure for use in estimating exposures among Swedish soft tissue paper mill workers.& para;& para;Methods: We used a combination of area and personal dosimetry noise exposure measurements made at four soft tissue paper mills by industry and research staff between 1977 and 2013 to estimate noise exposures by department, location, and job title. We then utilized these estimates, in conjunction with information on process and facility changes and use of hearing protection collected via focus groups, to create a seven-category, semi-quantitative JEM for all departments, locations, and job titles spanning the years 1940-2010.& para;& para;Results: The results of the 1157 area and personal dosimetry noise measurements indicated that noise levels have generally declined in Swedish paper mills over time, though these changes have been neither uniform nor monotonic within or across the four mills. Focus group results indicated that use of hearing protection has generally increased over time. The noise JEM totals 1917 cells, with each cell representing a unique combination of operation, job title, and single year. We estimated that -50% of workers at the four mills assessed were exposed at or above the Swedish 8-h average noise exposure limit of an 85 dBA at the conclusion of the study period in 2010.& para;& para;Conclusions: Our results highlight the continuing need for hearing loss prevention and noise control efforts at these and similar mills, and the completed JEM now represents a tool for use in epidemiological studies of noise-related health outcomes.

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