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Utility of self-administered silica exposure survey and semi-quantitative method to evaluate exposure risk in systemic sclerosis patients

Yuqing, Chen (2017) Utility of self-administered silica exposure survey and semi-quantitative method to evaluate exposure risk in systemic sclerosis patients. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Background/Objective: Systemic sclerosis is a severe autoimmune disease with unknown etiology and affects women three times more than men. It has been widely accepted that several environmental risk factors, especially for silica, are considered as potential triggers of SSc. A newly developed survey has been distributed among Pittsburgh SSc patients for better assessing the risk of occupational exposure. A Semi-quantitative method was utilized to evaluate the feasibility of the survey, and to further explore the association of occupational silica, chemical/solvent/others exposure and other pathways behind the unbalanced disease prevalence between gender.

Method: Raw data entry, categorization of parameters and calculation of semi-quantitative exposure scores were conducted using Excel. Analysis of descriptive and additional information was conducted case by case to evaluate the feasibility of the hybrid survey. Chi-square and fisher-exact tests of silica and chemical/solvents/others exposure were conducted to compare the different exposure patterns between male and female.

Results: There were 252 participants with complete checklist information and 11 participants had missing information. Although a total of 51 (34 females and 17 males) participants were self-identified as having occupational silica exposure, only 27 of them were classified as likely exposed to moderate or high occupational silica. In total, there were 6 participants who failed to identify themselves as occupational exposed, for an overall false negative rate of 3%. Significant difference were noted among silica exposure and non-exposure groups among males, and both male and females revealed remarkable differences in silica exposure intensity groups. Self-reported chemical/solvents and others exposures were significantly different by gender, with males more likely to be influenced by multiple exposure substances. Further detailed information is required for further second-hand exposure and GIS analysis.

Conclusion: The hybrid questionnaire and semi-quantitative method revealed higher sensitivity of occupational silica exposure than the preliminary SSc cohort study, and significantly improved the response rate especially for chemical/solvent/others exposure. The accurate and uniform evaluating methods targeting manufacturing processes and products are essential in further research of SSc etiology. The awareness of the risk of personal occupation is of public health importance and can help reduce the possibility of being in contact with susceptible substances and should also be an emphasis in SSc prevention to further public health policy.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Yuqing, Chenyuc74@pitt.eduyuc740000-0001-5167-1080
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGlynn, Nancy W.glynn@edc.pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberTalbott, Evelyn O.eot1@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberStevens, Brandi E.bes98@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberDomsic, Robyn T.rtd4@pitt.eduUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date: April 2017
Date Type: Completion
Number of Pages: 43
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 17:11
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2017 17:11

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