Main Article Content
Crystalline silica; respirable dust; productive sectors; sampling systems; X-ray diffraction
Background: Professional exposure to respirable dust containing crystalline silica is of great interest for the serious lung diseases resulting from exposure. Methods: During the period 1986-2019, 3611 exposure data to crystalline silica were collected from companies in central Italy. The data were divided and statistically analyzed based on the sampling system (Cyclone Dorr Oliver, CIP 10-R, Cyclone GS3, SKC plastic selector, Cyclone Higgins-Dewell and Cyclone Lippmann) and the ATECO code (code of economic activity, Italian acronym, used to classify companies when they interface with public institutions) of the companies in which they were collected. For each ATECO code, the division was made according to the type of sampling (personal or static) and the descriptive statistics of the data were calculated. Results: Overall, for personal samples, 8.8% of the data exceeds 0.1 mg/m3, 19.6% exceeds 0.05 mg/m3 and 33.8% exceeds 0.025 mg/m3, the limit values set by the EU Directive 2019/130, suggested by the SCOEL and published by ACGIH respectively. The ATECO codes with the highest worker exposure (geometric means 0.067 and 0.069 mg/m3) were 23.31.00 (manufacture of ceramic tiles for floors and walls) and 23.42.00 (manufacture of ceramic sanitary ware), while the lowest exposure is found in 81.29.91 (cleaning and washing of public areas, removal of snow and ice including shedding of sand) with a geometric mean of 0.002 mg/m3. Discussion: Despite the general reduction over time, there are still many sectors in which data are higher than the current occupational exposure limits; especially in these sectors it is necessary to implement the measures to fully assess worker exposure.