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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181a7dd4e
Original Articles

Further Exploration of the Links Between Occupational Exposure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Blanc, Paul D. MD, MSPH; Eisner, Mark D. MD, MPH; Earnest, Gillian BS; Trupin, Laura MPH; Balmes, John R. MD; Yelin, Edward H. PhD; Gregorich, Steven E. PhD; Katz, Patricia P. PhD

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Objective: To examine occupational risk for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Methods: We randomly recruited 233 subjects aged 55 to 75 reporting a physician’s diagnosis of COPD, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. Interviews assessed cigarette smoking and longest held job, identifying exposure to vapors, gas, dust, or fumes (VGDF). Lung function was assessed in n = 138. Comparison data were derived from a sample of referents without COPD.

Results: VGDF was reported in 123 (53%) of 233 cases versus 577 (34%) of 1709 referents. VGDF was associated with COPD (Odds Ratio [OR] 2.5; 95% CI = 1.9 to 3.4); the population attributable fraction was 32%. In the lung function subset, the FEV1/FVC was <70% in 79 (57%); 35 (44%) reported VGDF associated with an OR = 1.6 (95% CI = 0.99 to 2.6) and population attributable fraction 17%.

Conclusions: These data support an important role for occupational exposures in COPD.

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine


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