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Background: Despite considerable epidemiologic evidence about the health effects of chronic exposure to vehicle exhaust, efforts at defining the extent of risk have been limited by the lack of historical exposure measurements suitable for use in epidemiologic studies and for risk assessment. Objectives: We sought to reconstruct exposure to elemental carbon (EC), a marker of diesel and other vehicle ... read moreexhaust exposure, in a large national cohort of U.S. trucking industry workers.
Methods: We identified the predictors of measured exposures based on a statistical model and used this information to extrapolate exposures across the cohort nationally. These estimates were adjusted for changes in work-related conditions over time based on a previous exposure assessment of this industry, and for changes in background levels based on a trend analysis of historical air pollution data, to derive monthly estimates of EC exposure for each job and trucking terminal combination between 1971 and 2000. Results: Occupational exposure to EC declined substantially over time, and we found significant variability in estimated exposures both within and across job groups, trucking terminals, and regions of the United States. Average estimated EC exposures during a typical work shift ranged from < 1 ?g/m3 in the lowest exposed category in the 1990s to > 40 ?g/m3 for workers in the highest exposed jobs in the 1970s. Conclusions: Our results provide a framework for understanding changes over time in exposure to EC in the U.S. trucking industry. Our assessment should minimize exposure misclassification by capturing variation among terminals and across U.S. regions, and changes over time.read less