COPD and occupational exposures: a case-control study

J Occup Environ Med. 2008 May;50(5):561-9. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181651556.


Objective: Evidence demonstrates that occupational exposures are causally linked with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This case-control study evaluated the association between occupational exposures and prevalent COPD based on lifetime occupational history.

Methods: Cases (n = 388) aged 45 years and older with COPD were compared with controls (n = 356), frequency matched on age, sex, and cigarette smoking history. Odds ratios for exposure to each of eight occupational hazard categories and three composite measures of exposure were computed using logistic regression. RESULTSOccupational exposures most strongly associated with COPD were diesel exhaust, irritant gases and vapors, mineral dust, and metal dust. The composite measures describing aggregate exposure to gases, vapors, solvents, or sensitizers (GVSS) and aggregate exposure to dust, GVSS, or diesel exhaust were also associated with COPD. In the small group of never-smokers, a similar pattern was evident.

Conclusion: These population-based findings add to the literature linking occupational exposures to COPD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis
  • Algorithms
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dust / analysis
  • Female
  • Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control
  • Oregon / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / chemically induced*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / prevention & control
  • Respiratory Protective Devices
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Spirometry


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust