About this Research Topic
Occupational exposure assessment encompasses the characterization, measurement, estimation, and management of hazardous agents encountered through one’s work. These activities support human health in various ways. Occupational exposure assessment plays an integral role in epidemiological studies and deepens our understanding of health hazards and risks in humans. It also supports efforts to characterize exposure prevalence and levels in the working environment, and to estimate disease burden attributable to work across time periods, geographical regions, and worker populations. Further, occupational exposure assessment informs primary health protection efforts at the global, national, and local levels, including policies, regulations, and other intervention measures that aim to reduce or eliminate hazards at work.
In recent decades, novel exposure assessment methods applied in occupational settings (e.g., measurement, analytical, and statistical), have produced substantial improvements in the quality of epidemiologic studies and other activities to support workers’ health. While these advances are promising, a number of persistent and emerging issues justify the continuing need for innovative approaches to assess occupational exposures.
First, while “traditional” workplace exposures, such as chemical or physical factors, are still relevant to the field of occupational exposure assessment, the scope of recognized occupational hazards has expanded to include all chemical, biological, physical, and psychosocial exposures, or mixtures thereof, that an individual may encounter through their work. Research and regulatory efforts to understand and control hazardous exposures are further challenged by the rapid pace of new chemicals and other materials entering the market (and thus workplace settings). In addition, although recent globalization and new technological developments have shifted the production and use of various substances from high- to low- and middle-income countries, occupational exposures in these regions are not well characterized. Finally, the nature of work itself has been altered due to geopolitical factors, with an increasing prevalence of informal and precarious labour complicating the assessment of exposures over a lifespan.
We live in an era where enhanced collaboration between researchers, disciplines, and regions is vital. This Research Topic aims to review and discuss current approaches of assessing exposures at work, and pathways to moving this field forward on a global level.
Details for authors
For this Research Topic, we are soliciting manuscripts that discuss or apply exposure assessment concepts with broad applicability to worker’s health and protection activities. The manuscripts do not need to characterize a health outcome, but should make the link between one or more exposure assessment approaches and workers’ health, and how health may be optimized via a thorough and robust exposure assessment. We are especially interested in manuscripts that consider or attempt to apply exposure assessment in a novel way, whether by the exposure(s) assessed, by the population(s) of interest, or by the method(s) used.
We also welcome manuscripts that describe the application of exposure assessment to inform policies, regulations, or research programs focused on particular occupations, industries, or regions. Finally, original research, systematic reviews of existing literature, manuscripts summarizing a method/protocol, and commentary papers are also welcomed.
Keywords: occupational exposure, exposure assesment, exposure characterization, occupational health
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.