Cross-classified occupational exposure data.
journal contributionposted on 09.09.2017, 00:00 authored by Jones RM, Burstyn I
We demonstrate the regression analysis of exposure determinants using cross-classified random effects in the context of lead exposures resulting from blasting surfaces in advance of painting. We had three specific objectives for analysis of the lead data, and observed: (1) high within-worker variability in personal lead exposures, explaining 79% of variability; (2) that the lead concentration outside of half-mask respirators was 2.4-fold higher than inside supplied-air blasting helmets, suggesting that the exposure reduction by blasting helmets may be lower than expected by the Assigned Protection Factor; and (3) that lead concentrations at fixed area locations in containment were not associated with personal lead exposures. In addition, we found that, on average, lead exposures among workers performing blasting and other activities was 40% lower than among workers performing only blasting. In the process of obtaining these analyses objectives, we determined that the data were non-hierarchical: repeated exposure measurements were collected for a worker while the worker was a member of several groups, or cross-classified among groups. Since the worker is a member of multiple groups, the exposure data do not adhere to the traditionally assumed hierarchical structure. Forcing a hierarchical structure on these data led to similar within-group and between-group variability, but decreased precision in the estimate of effect of work activity on lead exposure. We hope hygienists and exposure assessors will consider non-hierarchical models in the design and analysis of exposure assessments.