The aim was to explore the impact of occupation on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a cross-sectional population-based study among subjects aged 45 to 84 years. In a stratified sampling 89 general practitioners practices (GPP) in Denmark recruited 3106 males and 1636 females through the Danish Civil Registration System. COPD was defined by spirometry by the 2.5(th)-centile Lower Limit of Normal of FEV1 and FEV1/FVC. Information about smoking, occupational exposure and the respective occupations were obtained from questionnaires. Occupations followed the Danish adaptation of The International Standard Classification of Occupations, revision 1988 (DISCO-88). Exposure to vapour, gas, dust (organic and inorganic), and fume (VGDF) in each occupation (yes/no) was evaluated by two independent specialist in occupational medicine. Exposures were divided in no, low, medium, and high exposure as 0, /= 15 years in the job, respectively. Data was analysed by a mixed random effect logistic regression model. The age-standardised COPD study prevalence was 5.0%. Of 372 DISCO-88 codes 72 were identified with relevant exposure to VGDF. 46% of the participants reported at least one occupation with VGDF exposure. Adjusted for smoking, age, sex, and GPP a dose-dependent association of COPD was found among workers in jobs with high organic dust exposure, with OR 1.56 (95% CI 1.09-2.24). Restricted to agriculture the OR was 1.59 (95% CI: 1.08-2.33). No association was observed for workers in jobs with inorganic dust, fume/gas, or vapour exposures. In summary, occupational organic dust exposure was associated to the prevalence of COPD.
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