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Occupation and the Prevalence of Respiratory Health Symptoms and Conditions: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study

Mirabelli, Maria C. PhD; London, Stephanie J. MD, PhD; Charles, Luenda E. PhD; Pompeii, Lisa A. PhD; Wagenknecht, Lynne E. DrPH

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31823e3a52
Original Articles
Abstract

Objectives: To examine associations between occupation and respiratory health in a large, population-based cohort of adults in the United States.

Methods: Data from 15,273 participants, aged 45 to 64 years, in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study were used to examine associations of current or most recent job held with the prevalence of self-reported chronic cough, chronic bronchitis, wheezing, asthma, and measures of lung function collected by spirometry.

Results: Eleven percent of participants reported wheezing and 9% were classified as having airway obstruction. Compared with individuals in managerial and administrative jobs, increased prevalences of respiratory outcomes were observed among participants in selected occupations, including construction and extractive trades (wheezing, prevalence ratio = 1.92, 95% confidence interval = 1.35, 2.73; airway obstruction, prevalence ratio = 1.31, 95% confidence interval = 1.05, 1.65).

Conclusions: Specific occupations are associated with adverse respiratory health.

Author Information

From the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention (Dr Mirabelli), Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC; Epidemiology Branch (Dr London), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Research Triangle Park, NC; Biostatistics and Epidemiology Branch (Dr Charles), Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, Morgantown, W Va; Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (Dr Pompeii), University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas; and Division of Public Health Sciences (Dr Wagenknecht), Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.

Address correspondence to: Maria C. Mirabelli, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157 (mmirabel@wakehealth.edu).

The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study is carried out as a collaborative study supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts (HHSN268201100005C, HHSN268201100006C, HHSN268201100007C, HHSN268201100008C, HHSN268201100009C, HHSN268201100010C, HHSN268201100011C, and HHSN268201100012C). Dr. London is supported by the Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The authors have no conflict of interest.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine