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Mining, teaching and health care high risk occupations for asthma

Posted Mar 04 2010 10:47am

US researchers found that workers in mining (17.0%), health-related industries (12.5%), teaching (13.1%), or in health-related occupations (12.6%) had the highest prevalence of asthma. When these occupations are compared to construction industry workers, workers in mining (aOR = 5.2, 95% CI: 1.1-24.2) or health-related (aOR = 2.3, 95% CI: 1.1-4.8) industries had significantly higher odds of asthma. This study adds to the increasing evidence that miners, healthcare workers and teachers remain high-risk working populations

Prevalence of asthma by industry and occupation in the U.S. working population
Michelle K. McHugh, Elaine Symanski, Lisa A. Pompeii, George L. Delclos
American Journal of Industrial Medicine

Background: Workers are potentially exposed to asthmagens daily. Our study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of asthma among working adults in the U.S. by industry and occupation.

Methods: Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-2004), multiple logistic regression was used to investigate associations between industry and occupation and current asthma as defined by positive responses to “Has a doctor or other health professional ever told you that you have asthma?” and “Do you still have asthma?”

Results: Workers in mining (17.0%), health-related industries (12.5%), teaching (13.1%), or in health-related occupations (12.6%) had the highest prevalence of asthma. As compared to construction industry workers, workers in mining (aOR = 5.2, 95% CI: 1.1-24.2) or health-related (aOR = 2.3, 95% CI: 1.1-4.8) industries had significantly higher odds of asthma.

Conclusion: Our study adds to the increasing evidence that miners, healthcare workers and teachers remain high-risk working populations and appropriate evaluation and control measures are needed to protect these workers.


Filed under: Asthma , Occupational exposure Tagged: Asthma , Lung disease
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