Hugh William Davies
Relevant Degree Programs
Occupational Health Hazards: Antineoplastic Drugs
New ways to exploit occupational exposure data
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Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2021)
No abstract available.
No abstract available.
Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2020)
Workers in the construction industry are known to be at risk of high exposures to respirable crystalline silica (RCS). Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) has been proposed by regulators as a primary method to control RCS exposure to construction workers. However, real-world data on the effectiveness of LEV in controlling RCS exposure is limited with available studies providing varying results.This study looks at the use and performance of vacuums, a common type of LEV available, used in conjunction with different hand tools on real-world constructions sites. A combination of study methods including field sampling, worker survey and simulated tests were used. During the field sampling, information regarding the vacuums, work environment conditions and dust exposure measurements were collected. These data were later used in regressions models to determine the determinants that strongly influenced the performance of the vacuums. The worker surveys provided information on the knowledge and attitude of workers. The simulated tests were used to corroborate information from the field sampling or to test specific scenarios where there is potential secondary dust exposure due to the use of vacuums.The study results show that the age and maintenance of the vacuums had the strongest effect on the airflow of the vacuum. However, while maintaining a sufficient airflow is important to ensure dust capture, the correlation of airflow with respirable dust exposure was weak. Both age and maintenance of the vacuums as well as environmental factors play a large part in determining the respirable dust exposure to the worker. It is recommended that all vacuum users are trained in both basic principles of ventilation as well as the standard operating procedure of the specific vacuum model being used. This is as each vacuum operates differently and may require different maintenance processes.
Occupational noise exposure is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. A biological model explains this association through a general stress reaction and the dysregulation of otherwise normal psychoneuralhormonal pathways. Given this evidence and the hypothesized link between stress and metabolic disorders or immunologic response (i.e. inflammation) we hypothesized that risk of diabetes and arthritis are elevated in those exposed to noise at work.Cases and controls were drawn from the National Population Health Survey (NPHS), a longitudinal survey conducted by Statistics Canada. Eligible subjects were aged 18 to 55 in the first cycle (1994/1995) and who did not have the health outcome of interest up to and including the fourth cycle (2000/2001). Cases were determined from self reports in the fifth (2002/2003) through eighth cycle (2008/2009); each case was matched to five controls who were disease free at the time when the case was diagnosed. Subjects’ noise exposure at work was assessed using cumulative exposure. Noise levels by various occupations/industries were derived from a job exposure matrix built from WorkSafeBC’s noise exposure dataset and exposure duration was estimated according to the self-reported work status in the NPHS. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratios of developing the health outcomes of interest; models were adjusted for life style factors (physical activity, smoking, drinking), socio-economic factors (education, family income), and health status factors (hypertension, obesity).In the current study the adjusted diabetes ORs (95% CI) for medium and high exposure groups (using low exposure group as reference) were 0.93 (0.61 – 1.41) and 1.04 (0.67 – 1.59), respectively. The corresponding ORs (95% CI) for rheumatoid arthritis were 1.01 (0.56 – 1.82) and 1.07 (0.57 – 2.01). For cardiovascular disease, the ORs (95% CI) were 0.87 (0.59 – 1.28) and 0.85 (0.57 – 1.27). We did not find evidence of an increased risk of diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or cardiovascular disease in those exposed to occupational noise. Possible biases in this study may explain the lack of an observed association including misclassification bias – particularly of exposure - and the healthy worker effect. Future studies are warranted and should focus on improving exposure assessment.
Background: Sawfilers are a sub-group of sawmill workers who repair and maintain saw blades, and are exposed to multiple inhalable occupational hazards some of which were carcinogens or have non-malignant respiratory effects. Sawmill workers in general may be exposed to endotoxins from gram-negative bacteria of the wood. Previous studies across different industries have shown that endotoxin would increase the risk of COPD, but may decrease the risk of lung cancer. The main goal of this thesis was to examine the associations between the two exposures (sawfiling employment and endotoxin) and two diseases (lung cancer and COPD) by using an existing cohort of 25,685 BC sawmill workers. Method: Sawfiling exposure was categorized into ever-exposed and never-exposed groups. For endotoxin, we used a previous endotoxin monitoring study of 216 samples in BC sawmills to build a predictive model through forward-stepwise linear regression, based on which we assigned quantitative endotoxin exposure values and calculated cumulative endotoxin exposure levels. Relative risk of lung cancer (ICD9=162) and COPD (ICD9=490,491,492,496) for each exposure group were assessed using Poisson regression, controlling for age, race, calendar period, and time since first exposure, with workers in lowest exposed category as the reference. Results: A total of 523 cases of lung cancer (follow-up period 01/01/1959 to 12/31/1995) and 120 cases of COPD (follow-up period 01/01/1985 to 12/31/1998) were included in the analysis. With respect to sawfiling, risk of lung cancer (lagged 20 years) and COPD (lagged 5 years) were slightly elevated (RR=1.4, 95% CI=0.9-2.2 and RR=1.3, 95% CI=0.6-2.5, respectively) but neither significantly. Decreased risk of lung cancer was observed among subjects with highest endotoxin exposure (RR=0.8, 95% CI=0.5-1.1), and the dose-response trend was borderline significant (p=0.059). Increased risk of COPD was observed among subjects with highest endotoxin exposure (RR=1.9, 95% CI=1.0-3.7), and the dose-response relationship was again borderline significant (p=0.065). Conclusion: This study provided evidence of a link between cumulative endotoxin exposure and a decreased trend of lung cancer and an increased trend of COPD. However, the association between lung cancer, COPD and sawfiling employment remained unclear.
Methylmercury is a common contaminant found in fish. Chronic exposure can have detrimental effects on the nervous, cardiovascular and immune systems. Since mercury exposure can come from consuming fish that is caught as well as fish that is purchased, recreational anglers are a group that may have higher exposure than non-anglers. It was the primary goal of this study to determine whether exposure to methylmercury in Vancouver Island recreational anglers was greater from the consumption of sport-fish or from commercial fish.Study participants were recruited from the BC Ministry of Environment freshwater fishing license list. A comprehensive questionnaire was administered over the telephone to enumerate potential sources of exposure to methylmercury. While the questionnaire primarily focused on the frequency, mass and species of fish consumed, other exposure sources were also examined. Following the questionnaire, a blood sample was collected and analyzed for mercury.A total of 195 anglers between the ages of 21 and 85 participated in the study. 80% of the subjects were male and approximately 90% were born in Canada. The geometric mean blood-mercury concentration was 2.33 ± 2.16 μg/L. In multiple regression analysis, the consumption of caught rockfish, shellfish and cutthroat trout as well as bought fresh/frozen albacore tuna, fresh/frozen ‘other’ tuna, i.e. ahi, skipjack or yellowfin, and snapper were found to be the greatest predictors of exposure.The results of this study demonstrated that exposure to methylmercury in Vancouver Island anglers was equally distributed between recreational and commercial fish species. The observed blood-mercury concentrations were consistent with similar studies, as was the discovery that it was primarily the frequent consumption of fish species containing low to moderate amounts of mercury that drove exposure. While this study determined that three recreational and three commercial fish species were predictors of exposure, five of these six were saltwater species while the sixth, cutthroat trout, was anadromous. Future studies should therefore focus on evaluating the differences in exposure between fresh and saltwater fish consumption. In addition, conducting a comprehensive survey of tissue-mercury levels in Vancouver Island fish would provide valuable region-specific data, leading to better exposure estimates in anglers.
In Bangladesh, shipbreaking is often carried out by internal migrant workers from the impoverished northern regions. Ships can contain hazardous substances such as polychlorinated biphenyls, heavy metals and asbestos, which are all recognized carcinogens. Work is done by hand, without heavy equipment, adequate training or protection, and with high potential for exposures. This pilot study examined asbestosis and non asbestos-related respiratory symptoms among these migrant workers.Shipbreakers were recruited from their home communities in northern Bangladesh. They were interviewed in Bangla, and received anteroposterior chest x-rays and physical exams. Information was collected on: a) respiratory symptoms using validated questions from the American Thoracic Society, b) work history and past occupational exposures, c) clinical history, d) attitudes around occupational health and safety, e) and knowledge of the potential heath risks and fate of asbestos. Chest x-rays were read by a B-reader for asbestosis diagnosis. One hundred and four male shipbreakers were recruited with average age 40 years and 2.5 years education. On average they had nine years shipbreaking experience and 17 years since first year of employment on the yards. Radiographic results indicated a six percent prevalence of asbestosis, and results from the interviews indicated a thirteen percent and eight percent prevalence of work-related cough and phlegm, and work-related shortness of breath, respectively.The prevalence of asbestosis appears lower than seen in previous studies of shipbuilders and ship-repairers. However, beach-based shipbreakers (steel plate loaders and cable-pullers) were overrepresented in comparison to ship-based (cutters and fitters) workers. This, and the small sample size, inclusion criteria, and a possibly exaggerated healthy worker effect, could have resulted in an underestimate of prevalence. Ships typical of those being dismantled contain several tons of asbestos; there is a need for improvements in exposure control, including educating the shipbreakers about asbestos and where it is found. Future research should focus on subjects who have worked closer to the source of exposure, as well as better characterizing the exposure and learning about the fate of the asbestos after it leaves the yards.
- Burden of non-melanoma skin cancer attributable to occupational sun exposure in Canada (2019)
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 92 (8), 1151-1157
- Comparison of land use regression and random forests models on estimating noise levels in five Canadian cities (2019)
- Development of Quantitative Estimates of Wood Dust Exposure in a Canadian General Population Job-Exposure Matrix Based on Past Expert Assessments (2019)
Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 63 (1), 22-33
- Expostats: A Bayesian Toolkit to Aid the Interpretation of Occupational Exposure Measurements (2019)
Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 63 (3), 267-279
- The current burden of cancer attributable to occupational exposures in Canada (2019)
Preventive Medicine, 122, 128-139
- The impact of night shift work on breast cancer: Results from the Burden of Occupational Cancer in Canada Study (2019)
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 62 (8), 635-642
- A combined emission and receptor-based approach to modelling environmental noise in urban environments (2018)
Environmental Pollution, 242, 1387-1394
- Born to be Wise: A population registry data linkage protocol to assess the impact of modifiable early-life environmental exposures on the health and development of children (2018)
BMJ Open, 8 (12)
- Burden of lung cancer attributable to occupational diesel engine exhaust exposure in Canada (2018)
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 75 (9), 617-622
- Personal light-at-night exposures and components of variability in two common shift work industries: Uses and implications for future research (2018)
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 44 (1), 80-87
- Priority Setting for Occupational Cancer Prevention (2018)
Safety and Health at Work, 9 (2), 133-139
- The Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium - A protocol for building a national environmental exposure data platform for integrated analyses of urban form and health (2018)
BMC Public Health, 18 (1)
- The impact of different seats and whole-body vibration exposures on truck driver vigilance and discomfort (2018)
Ergonomics, 61 (4), 528-537
- Association of long-term exposure to transportation noise and traffic-related air pollution with the incidence of diabetes: A prospective cohort study (2017)
Environmental Health Perspectives, 125 (8)
- Comparing the Whole Body Vibration Exposures across Three Truck Seats (2017)
SAE Technical Papers, 2017- (June), 932-935
- Prevalence of Hazardous Occupational Noise Exposure, Hearing Loss, and Hearing Protection Usage among a Representative Sample of Working Canadians (2017)
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59 (1), 92-113
- A prospective cohort study of road traffic noise effects on diabetes (2015)
INTER-NOISE 2015 - 44th International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering,
- CAREX Canada: An enhanced model for assessing occupational carcinogen exposure (2015)
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 72 (1), 64-71
- Prevention in dangerous industries: Does safety certification prevent tree-faller injuries? (2015)
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, 41 (5), 478-485
- Exposed! Or not? The diminishing record of workplace exposure in Canada (2014)
Canadian Journal of Public Health, 105 (3)
- Impact of noise and air pollution on pregnancy outcomes (2014)
Epidemiology, 25 (3), 351-358
- Long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution and progression of carotid artery atherosclerosis: A prospective cohort study (2014)
BMJ Open, 4 (4)
- Proximity to traffic, Ambient air pollution, And community noise in relation to incident rheumatoid arthritis (2014)
Environmental Health Perspectives, 122 (10), 1075-1080
- Residential Greenness and Birth Outcomes: Evaluating the Influence of Spatially Correlated Built-Environment Factors (2014)
Environmental Health Perspectives, 122 (10), 1095-1102
- Fertilizer use and self-reported respiratory and dermal symptoms among tree planters (2013)
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 10 (1), 36-45
- Noise and health in vulnerable groups: A review (2013)
Noise and Health, 15 (64), 153-159
- Occupational exposures to antineoplastic drugs and ionizing radiation in Canadian veterinary settings: Findings from a national surveillance project (2013)
Canadian Journal of Public Health, 104 (7)
- Association of long-term exposure to community noise and traffic-related air pollution with coronary heart disease mortality (2012)
American Journal of Epidemiology, 175 (9), 898-906
- Job strain and shift work influences on biomarkers andsubclinical heart disease indicators: A pilot study (2012)
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 9 (8), 467-477
- Modeling population exposure to community noise and air pollution in a large metropolitan area (2012)
Environmental Research, 116, 11-16
- Noise and cardiovascular disease: A review of the literature 2008-2011 (2012)
Noise and Health, 14 (61), 287-291
- Noise and health, cardiovascular risk and susceptible groups (2012)
Australian Acoustical Society Conference 2012, Acoustics 2012: Acoustics, Development, and the Environment, , 1-7
- Noise exposure and serious injury to active sawmill workers in British Columbia (2012)
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 69 (3), 211-216
- Potential barriers to engineered noise control in food and beverage manufacturing in British Columbia, Canada: A qualitative study (2012)
International Journal of Audiology, 51 (SUPPL)
- Asbestos-related disease in banlgadeshi ship breakers: A pilot study (2011)
International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 17 (2), 144-153
- Characterization of noise and carbon monoxide exposures among professional firefighters in British Columbia (2011)
Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 55 (7), 764-774
- Evaluation and comparison of three exposure assessment techniques (2011)
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 8 (5), 310-323
- Exposure to occupational noise and cardiovascular disease in the United States: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004 (2011)
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 68 (3), 183-190
- Exposure to pesticides and metal contaminants of fertilizer among tree planters (2011)
Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 55 (7), 752-763
- Improving exposure estimates by combining exposure information (2011)
Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 55 (5), 537-547
- Long-term exposure to traffic noise and traffic-related air pollution and coronary heart disease mortality (2011)
Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics, 33 1 (PART ), 410-417
- Long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution and the risk of coronary heart disease hospitalization and mortality (2011)
Environmental Health Perspectives, 119 (4), 501-507
- Occupational injury in rural Bangladesh: Data gathering using household survey (2011)
International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, 17 (3), 214-222
- Proximity of public elementary schools to major roads in Canadian urban areas (2011)
International Journal of Health Geographics, 10
- An investigation of the adjustment of retrospective noise exposure for use of hearing protection devices (2010)
Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 54 (3), 329-339
- Changes in residential proximity to road traffic and the risk of death from coronary heart disease (2010)
Epidemiology, 21 (5), 642-649
- Determinants of use of hearing protection devices in Canadian lumber mill workers (2010)
Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 54 (3), 319-328
- A retrospective assessment of occupational noise exposures for a longitudinal epidemiological study (2009)
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 66 (6), 388-394
- Comparison of perceived and quantitative measures of occupational noise exposure (2009)
Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 53 (1), 41-54
- Correlation between co-exposures to noise and air pollution from traffic sources (2009)
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 66 (5), 347-350
- Evaluation of three occupational noise exposure assessment techniques (2009)
8th European Conference on Noise Control 2009, EURONOISE 2009 - Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics, 31 (PART )
- The spatial relationship between traffic-generated air pollution and noise in 2 US cities (2009)
Environmental Research, 109 (3), 334-342
- Adjusting historical noise estimates by accounting for hearing protection use: A probabilistic approach and validation (2008)
Canadian Acoustics - Acoustique Canadienne, 36 (3), 100-101
- Hypertension in noise-exposed sawmill workers: A cohort study (2008)
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 65 (9), 643-646
- Impact of expert versus measurement-based occupational noise exposure estimates on exposure-response relationships (2008)
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 81 (7), 837-844
- Occupational noise exposure and hearing protector use in Canadian lumber mills (2008)
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 6 (1), 32-41
- The impact of hearing conservation programs on incidence of noise-induced hearing loss in Canadian workers (2008)
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 51 (12), 923-931
- Impact of the specificity of the exposure metric on exposure-response relationships (2007)
Epidemiology, 18 (1), 88-94
- Cancer and occupational exposure to pentachlorophenol and tetrachlorophenol (Canada) (2006)
Cancer Causes and Control, 17 (6), 749-758
- Exposure-effect relations between aircraft and road traffic noise exposure at school and reading comprehension: The RANCH project (2006)
American Journal of Epidemiology, 163 (1), 27-37
- Hypertensive disease in sawmill workers chronically exposed to high noise levels (2006)
Institute of Noise Control Engineering of the USA - 35th International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering, INTER-NOISE 2006, 6, 4128-4133
- Mixed models and empirical bayes estimation for retrospective exposure assessment of dust exposures in Canadian sawmills (2006)
Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 50 (3), 281-288
- Noise exposure and children's blood pressure and heart rate: The RANCH project (2006)
Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 63 (9), 632-639
- Erratum: Reducing attenuation in exposure-response relationships by exposure modeling and grouping: The relationship wood dust exposure and lung function (American Journal of Industrial Medicine (2004) 46 (663-667)) (2005)
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 47 (2), 189
- Implications of the RANCH study for exploring mechanisms of noise effects on cognition (2005)
International Congress on Noise Control Engineering 2005, INTERNOISE 2005, 4, 3038-3046
- Occupational exposure to noise and mortality from acute myocardial infarction (2005)
Epidemiology, 16 (1), 25-32
- Predicting historical dust and wood dust exposure in sawmills: Model development and validation (2005)
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 2 (12), 650-658
- Reducing attenuation in exposure-response relationships by exposure modeling and grouping: The relationship between wood dust exposure and lung function (2004)
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 46 (6), 663-667
- β(1→3)-glucan exposure levels among workers in four British Columbia sawmills (2003)
Annals of Agriculture and Environmental Medicine, 10 (1), 21-29
- Exposure levels and determinants of softwood dust exposures in bc lumber mills, 1981–1997 (2002)
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, 63 (6), 709-714
- Exposure to dust, resin acids, and monoterpenes in softwood lumber mills (2000)
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal, 61 (4), 521-528
- A field comparison of inhalable and thoracic size selective sampling techniques (1999)
Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 43 (6), 381-392
- Determinants of exposure to inhalable particulate, wood dust, resin acids, and monoterpenes in a lumber mill environment (1999)
Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 43 (4), 247-255
- Endotoxin exposure among softwood lumber mill workers in the Canadian Province of British Columbia (1999)
Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, 6 (2), 141-146
- Cytogenetic analysis of South Asian berry pickers in British Columbia using the micronucleus assay in peripheral lymphocytes (1998)
Mutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, 416 (1-2), 101-113
- Opportunities for a broader understanding of work and health: Multiple uses of an occupational cohort database (1998)
Canadian Journal of Public Health, 89 (2), 132-136