|Title||Incident chronic obstructive pulmonary disease associated with occupation, industry, and workplace exposures in the Health and Retirement Study.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Silver, SR, Alarcon, WA, Li, J|
|Journal||American Journal of Industrial Medicine|
|Keywords||COPD, exposure, longitudinal, Occupation|
BACKGROUND: Chronic health effects from accumulated occupational exposures manifest as the workforce ages. The Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a panel survey of U.S. adults nearing/in retirement, allows assessment of associations among industry and occupation (I/O), workplace exposures, and incident chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
METHODS: The study population comprised respondents from the 1992 HRS cohort employed in 1972 or later and not diagnosed with COPD as of initial interview. We examined associations with incident COPD through 2016 and: (1) broad and selected detailed I/O, (2) workplace exposures, and (3) exposures within I/O. Given the cohort's baseline age (50-62), we calculated subhazard ratios (SHRs) for COPD accounting for competing risk of death.
RESULTS: SHRs for COPD were significantly elevated for several industries: mining; blast furnaces, steelworks, rolling and finishing mills; groceries and related products; and automotive repair shops. Occupations with significantly elevated SHRs were maids and housemen; farmworkers; vehicle/mobile equipment mechanics and repair workers; material moving equipment operators; and nonconstruction laborers. Significantly elevated COPD SHRs were observed for specific I/O-exposure pairs: blast furnace/steelworks/rolling/finishing mills and asbestos; automotive repair shops and aerosol paints; farmworkers and pesticide exposures; and both material moving equipment operators and nonconstruction laborers exposed to dust and ash.
CONCLUSIONS: Certain jobs and occupational exposures are associated with increased risk for developing COPD in late preretirement and during retirement. Given the disability and economic costs of COPD, these findings support focusing exposure prevention and medical monitoring resources on groups of workers at increased risk.