Epidemiology of occupation and coronary heart disease: research agenda

Am J Ind Med. 1996 Oct;30(4):495-9. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199610)30:4<495::AID-AJIM16>3.0.CO;2-#.


Little is known about occupational risks for coronary heart disease. A few specific toxins encountered occupationally are known to affect the heart, most prominently carbon disulfide, nitroglycerin, and carbon monoxide. Of these, carbon monoxide is the most common occupational exposure; it is also a common environmental exposure due to vehicle exhaust. Environmental tobacco smoke, noise, heat, and cold are suspected occupational risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In addition, stress at work may increase heart disease, although little is known conclusively with this regard. Unemployment may also increase risk of heart disease. Shift work, which disrupts circadian rhythms, has also been linked to heart disease, although there again, the data are far from conclusive. Physical activity at work, either too much or too little, can also be a risk factor for heart disease. While in general, more physical activity results in less heart disease, heavy lifting (in occupational and nonoccupational settings) has been associated with increased risk of heart attack. Further epidemiologic research into all these areas is warranted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects
  • Carbon Disulfide / adverse effects
  • Carbon Monoxide / adverse effects
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Cold Temperature / adverse effects
  • Coronary Disease / epidemiology*
  • Heart Diseases / epidemiology
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Lifting / adverse effects
  • Motor Activity
  • Nitroglycerin / adverse effects
  • Noise / adverse effects
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Research
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress, Physiological / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects
  • Toxins, Biological / adverse effects
  • Unemployment


  • Air Pollutants
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Toxins, Biological
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Carbon Disulfide