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A 2-day Occupational Health and Safety Forum
The Forum's Title: New Strategies for Recognizing and Preventing Occupational Disease
March 3 & 4, 2005
Toronto, Canada
Forum Survey's - Add Your Voice

Poster Session 2
CAREX as a Tool for Occupational Carcinogen Exposure Surveillance in Ontario
Presented by: Bronwen Waller 1
Paul Demers 2
Dr. Jennifer Payne 1,3
Loraine Marrett 1,3
The latency for occupational cancer can be as long as 40 years, providing a large window of opportunity in which to act. However, Ontario lacks a surveillance system for occupational carcinogen exposures. Surveillance of these exposures is useful for many reasons: monitoring trends in exposure to predict future costs; assisting with compensation; guiding policies regarding prevention; and setting research priorities. CAREX is a Microsoft Access-based system developed by the Finnish Institute for Occupational Health. It contains estimates of the number of workers exposed to 139 carcinogens.
The purpose of this project is to:
  1. Produce estimates of the number of Ontario workers exposed to the 20 most frequently encountered workplace carcinogens, by industry category;
  2. Refine these estimates based on more detailed Census data and more current hygiene data; and
  3. Formulate recommendations related to surveillance opportunities and occupational areas in need of exposure prevention measures.
Counts of Ontario workers, by industry sector, were obtained from the 2001 Census. These were applied to the CAREX database to generate crude frequencies of exposed workers. A more detailed breakdown of the number of workers by industry sector, stratified by occupational category, has now been applied to the CAREX database in an effort to identify high-risk occupations across industry sectors. Similarly, Ontario hygiene data are now being used to validate the CAREX data in an attempt to refine the estimates of exposed workers. Further refinements will be required to characterize current exposures to specific geographic areas of the province.
Estimating the burden of exposure to known carcinogens in Ontario workplaces and identifying specific industries and occupations where such exposures occur are first steps towards reducing the burden of occupational cancer in Ontario. In the longer term, it will be possible to develop an on-going surveillance program for the province which will identify areas for intervention.
Dr. Jennifer Payne
Cancer Care Ontario
620 University Ave
11th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2L7
416-971-5100 Ext 1266
1 Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, Ontario
2 School of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
3 Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

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