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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Prevalence Among Nonsmokers by Occupation in the United States

Bang, Ki Moon MPH, PhD; Syamlal, Girija MBBS, MPH; Mazurek, Jacek M. MD, MS, PhD; Wassell, James T. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 9 - p 1021–1026
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31829baa97
Original Articles

Objective: To examine the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among nonsmokers by occupation in the United States.

Methods: The 1997 to 2004 National Health Interview Survey data for working adults aged 25 years or more were used to estimate the COPD prevalence and to examine change in COPD prevalence between 1997 to 2000 and 2001 to 2004 by occupational groups.

Results: During 1997 to 2004, COPD prevalence was 2.8%. The COPD prevalence was highest in financial records processing (4.6%) occupations. There was a slight increase in COPD prevalence during the two survey periods from 2.8% during 1997 to 2000 compared with 2.9% during 2001 to 2004.

Conclusions: No significant changes in the COPD prevalence between the two periods were found. Nevertheless, the elevated COPD prevalence in certain occupational groups suggests that other risk factors play a role in developing COPD.

From the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, Morgantown, WVa.

Address correspondence to: Ki Moon Bang, MPH, PhD, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, RM H-G900.2, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505 (

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine