Online Program

Distribution of asthma by occupation in Washington state

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Naomi Anderson, MPH, Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Olympia, WA
Z. Joyce Fan, Ph.D., Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) program, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Olympia, WA
David Bonauto, MD, MPH, Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) program, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, Olympia, WA
Objectives: Asthma is a common and costly lung disease. We estimate the prevalence of self-reported asthma by occupation in Washington State (WA). Methods: The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Asthma Call-Back Survey (ACBS) is conducted yearly with BRFSS respondents who identify as having asthma. ACBS data for WA 2006-2009 was analyzed. ‘Current' and ‘lifetime' asthma were defined by using the calculated variables for ACBS which combine BRFSS interview and ACBS responses. WA BRFSS includes questions on industry and occupation, and responses were coded into industry and occupational groups. Prevalence ratios (PR) were calculated by occupational groups. Results & Discussion: From preliminary data there were 6,099 respondents to the WA BRFSS ACBS in 2006-2009. Of these, 2,427 workers who were ‘currently employed' had industry and occupation data. The prevalence of ‘current asthma' among WA workers in the ACBS was 60.5% (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 56.9-64.1%). When compared to the reference group of Executive, Administration, and Managerial, two occupational groups had significantly higher PRs of asthma: Administrative Support, Including Clerical (PR 1.21, 95% CI 1.03-1.42%) and Food Preparation and Services (PR 1.32, 95% CI 1.08-1.63%). Conclusions: Some occupations appear to have higher prevalence of asthma than others. The use of occupation data to discern these differences is potentially valuable for targeting prevention efforts to reduce the burden of disease. Routine collection of industry and occupation information would help in identifying industries and occupations with higher burdens of asthma.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Identify occupations with higher prevalence of self-reported asthma.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health, Asthma

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For the past 5 years: I have been a co-investigator on CDC-NIOSH funded grants for occupational health surveillance; and responsible for the yearly production of the CSTE Occupational Health Indicators for WA. My primary focus has been analyzing and publishing results on occupational injury/illness surveillance (e.g. occupational asthma, hospitalized burns, amputations) using Workers' Compensation data. Author & co-author of several studies using BRFSS data. NIOSH trained Industry/Occupation coder (coded I/O responses for WA BRFSS).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.