A case-control study of airways obstruction among construction workers.
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BACKGROUND: While smoking is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), occupational exposures to vapors, gases, dusts, and fumes (VGDF) increase COPD risk. This case-control study estimated the risk of COPD attributable to occupational exposures among construction workers. METHODS: The study population included 834 cases and 1243 controls participating in a national medical screening program for older construction workers between 1997 and 2013. Qualitative exposure indices were developed based on lifetime work and exposure histories. RESULTS: Approximately 18% (95% CI = 2-24%) of COPD risk can be attributed to construction-related exposures, which are additive to the risk contributed by smoking. A measure of all VGDF exposures combined was a strong predictor of COPD risk. CONCLUSIONS: Construction workers are at increased risk of COPD as a result of broad and complex effects of many exposures acting independently or interactively. Control methods should be implemented to prevent worker exposures, and smoking cessation should be promoted.
Published Version (Please cite this version)
Dement, John, Laura Welch, Knut Ringen, Patricia Quinn, Anna Chen and Scott Haas (2015). A case-control study of airways obstruction among construction workers. Am J Ind Med, 58(10). pp. 1083–1097. 10.1002/ajim.22495 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10755.
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Research interest focus on occupational and environmental epidemiology including exposure assessments for epidemiological studies. Exposure assessments involve the development of new and innovative exposure assessment methods and application of these methods to cohort and case-control studies of exposed populations. Research topics include occupational lung diseases and occupational and environmental carcinogens such as asbestos fibers, man-made fibers, and benzene. Epidemiological studies involve the development of quantitative risk estimates for occupational diseases among cohorts of workers exposed to substances such as asbestos. Other ongoing occupational lung disease studies include assessments of exposures and lung diseases among construction workers at Department of Energy nuclear facilities. The objective of this research is to identify possible occupational and personal factors related to the risk of lung diseases such as asbestosis, silicosis, and COPD.
Construction industry health and safety research is another area of research focus. This research includes development of epidemiological surveillance methods for work related diseases and injuries using existing data sources such as medical claims and worker compensation data. Work related musculoskeletal diseases among carpenters are currently being studied in collaboration with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters.
Other ongoing research includes the development and implementation occupational safety and health surveillance systems for health care workers. The objective of this research is to develop, implement, and evaluate a model surveillance program which can be implemented in other health care settings. This project involves both population-based and case-based surveillance strategies. Surveillance and prevention programs for workplace violence experienced by health care workers is a research interest,
Prevention and management of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among workers participating in multi-employer health funds is a current area of research interest.
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