Association Between Occupational Exposures and Sarcoidosis: An Analysis From Death Certificates in the United States, 1988-1999

Chest. 2016 Aug;150(2):289-98. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2016.01.020. Epub 2016 Jan 30.


Background: Sarcoidosis is a disease that is associated with occupational and environmental antigens, in the setting of a susceptible host. The aim of this study was to examine the association between sarcoidosis mortality and previously reported occupational exposures based on sex and race.

Methods: The decedents enrolled in this study were derived from United States death certificates from 1988-1999. Cause of death was coded according to ICD-9 and ICD-10. The usual occupation was coded with Bureau of the Census Occupation Codes. Mortality odds ratio (MOR) were determined and multiple Poisson regression were performed to evaluate the independent exposure effects after adjustment for age, sex, race and other occupational exposures.

Results: Of the 7,118,535 decedents in our study, 3,393 were identified as sarcoidosis-related, including 1,579 identified as sarcoidosis being the underlying cause of death. The sarcoidosis-related MOR of any occupational exposure was 1.52 (95% CI, 1.35-1.71). Women with any exposure demonstrated an increased MOR compared to women without (MOR 1.65, 95% CI, 1.45-1.89). The mortality risk was significantly elevated in those with employment involving metal working, health care, teaching, sales, banking, and administration. Higher sarcoidosis-related mortality risks associated with specific exposures were noted in women vs men and blacks vs whites.

Conclusions: Findings of prior occupations and risk of sarcoidosis were verified using sarcoidosis mortality rates. There were significant differences in risk for sarcoidosis mortality by occupational exposures based on sex and race.

Keywords: mortality; mortality OR; occupational exposure; sarcoidosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Banking, Personal
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Cause of Death
  • Commerce
  • Death Certificates
  • Female
  • Health Care Sector
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Metals
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcoidosis / epidemiology
  • Sarcoidosis / mortality*
  • Sex Factors
  • Teaching
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult


  • Metals