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Occupational COPD among Danish never-smokers: a population-based study
  1. Else Toft Würtz1,
  2. Vivi Schlünssen2,3,
  3. Tine Halsen Malling1,
  4. Jens Georg Hansen4,
  5. Øyvind Omland1,5
  1. 1Department of Occupational Medicine, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Occupational Medicine, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  3. 3Department of Public Health, Section of Environment, Occupation and Health, Danish Ramazzini Centre, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
  4. 4Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  5. 5Department of Health Science and Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
  1. Correspondence to Dr Else Toft Würtz, Arbejdsmedicinsk Klinik, Aalborg Universitetshospital, Havrevangen 1, Aalborg DK-9000, Denmark; etw{at}


Occupational exposures have been shown to be risk factors for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among never-smokers. In a Danish population-based cohort, we analysed this association and the population attributable fraction. The study population (N=1575) was aged 45–84, COPD was defined by lung function measurements and the method of lower limit of normal (LLN), and occupational exposure was assessed by questionnaire and expert judgement. Furthermore, the estimates additionally were provided according to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Diseases. More than a threefold increased risk (LLN OR=3.69 (95% CI 1.36 to 10.04) was found for occupational exposure to vapour, gas, dust and fumes (predominantly organic dust) in this never-smoking population, with a corresponding 48% (95% CI 30% to 65%) population attributable fraction among never-smokers.

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