6 occupations tied to elevated COPD risk

  • De Matteis S & al.
  • Eur Respir J
  • 27.06.2019

  • von Miriam Davis, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • 6 professions were found to be at increased risk for COPD; findings included sculptors, gardeners, and warehouse workers.

Why this matters

  • People should be asked about their job history for better disease management of COPD.

Study design

  • Retrospective, population-based cohort using the UK Biobank cohort of 94,551 people with spirometry and smoking information.
  • COPD was spirometry-defined as forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1/forced vital capacity [FVC]
  • All participants submitted lifetime job histories via OSCAR, a new, validated online tool that automatically codes jobs into the UK Standard Occupational Classification version 2000.
  • Funding: Health and Safety Executive, UK.

Key results

  • The following occupations had elevated risk for COPD by comparing job duration:
    • Sculptor, painter, engraver, art restorer: prevalence ratio (PR) in job duration >10 years compared with 0.5-10 years, 1.77 vs 0.96 (P=.05), including subgroup of never-smokers (P=.004).
    • Sports coach, athlete, instructor, scorer: PR, 1.69 vs 1.78 (P=.004).
    • Gardener, groundsman, park keeper: PR, 1.72 vs 1.24 (P=.007).
    • Agriculture and fishing: PR, 1.12 vs 1.76 (P=.009).
    • Warehouse stock handler, stacker: PR, 1.83 vs 0.98 (P=.03).
    • Plastics processor, molder among never-smokers: PR, 2.74 vs 1.28 (P=.03).

Limitations

  • Coal miners were underrepresented.