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Simultaneous Assessment of Genetic and Occupational Risk Factors.

Schulte, Paul A. PhD
Journal of Occupational Medicine: November 1987

: Genetic factors rarely have been considered in studies of occupational risks. This leaves unresolved many questions of differential disease distribution in similarly exposed groups. In this analysis the medical and epidemiologic literature has been surveyed and the methods for assessing genetic and occupational risks in the same study have been identified and critiqued. Five major methodologic approaches have been identified: (1) adjustment for race, ethnicity, and sex; (2) case studies of occupational disease in genetically susceptible workers; (3) cross-sectional evaluations of the prevalence of disease among genetically differentiated groups; (4) case-control studies of the association of genetic characteristics and disease; and (5) family studies of disease aggregations. These approaches, in part, allow for controlling genetic factors or identifying susceptible genes or phenotype markers that may differentiate occupational populations according to risk. However, in many of the studies evaluated, the methods used were not very powerful for detecting gene-occupation interactions. More powerful designs need to be utilized for the simultaneous assessment of genetic and occupational risk.

(C)1987 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine