A nationwide follow-up study of occupational organic dust exposure and risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

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  • Anne Vested
  • Ioannis Basinas, Centre for Human Exposure Science (CHES), Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM), Edinburgh, EH14 4AP, UK., Alex Burdorf, Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.,
  • Grethe Elholm
  • Dick J J Heederik, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands., NetherlandsGitte H Jacobsen,
  • Henrik A Kolstad
  • Hans Kromhout, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands., NetherlandsØyvind Omland, Arbejdsmedicinsk Klinik, Aalborg Universitetshospital,
  • Torben Sigsgaard
  • Ane M Thulstrup
  • Gunnar Toft
  • Jesper M Vestergaard
  • Inge M Wouters, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands., Netherlands
  • Vivi Schlünssen

OBJECTIVES: To study exposure-response relations between cumulative organic dust exposure and incident chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among subjects employed in the Danish farming and wood industry.

METHODS: We studied exposure-response relations between cumulative organic dust exposure and incident COPD (1997-2013) among individuals born during 1950-1977 in Denmark ever employed in the farming or wood industry (n=1 75 409). Industry-specific employment history (1964-2007), combined with time-dependent farming and wood industry-specific exposure matrices defined cumulative exposure. We used logistic regression analysis with discrete survival function adjusting for age, sex and calendar year. Adjustment for smoking status was explored in a subgroup of 4023 with smoking information available.

RESULTS: Cumulative organic dust exposure was inversely associated with COPD (adjusted rate ratios (RRadj (95% CIs) of 0.90 (0.82 to 0.99), 0.76 (0.69 to 0.84) and 0.52 (0.47 to 0.58) for intermediate-low, intermediate-high and high exposure quartiles, respectively, compared with the lowest exposure quartile). Lagging exposure 10 years was not consistently suggestive of an association between cumulative exposure and COPD; RRadj (95% CI): 1.05 (0.94 to 1.16), 0.92 (0.83 to 1.02) and 0.63 (0.56 to 0.70). Additional stratification by duration of employment showed no clear association between organic dust exposure and COPD except for the longer exposed (15-40 years) where an inverse association was indicated. Subgroup analyses showed that smoking had no impact on exposure-response estimates.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show no increased risk of COPD with increasing occupational exposure to organic dust in the farming or wood industry.Potential residual confounding by smoking can, however, not be ruled out.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Volume76
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
ISSN1351-0711
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2019

    Research areas

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd), epidemiology, occupational exposure, organic dusts

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