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Greater coordination and harmonisation of European occupational cohorts is needed
  1. Michelle C Turner1,2,3,4,
  2. Ingrid Sivesind Mehlum5
  1. 1 Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2 Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3 CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain
  4. 4 McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5 National Institute of Occupational Health (STAMI), Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michelle C Turner, Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Barcelona 08003, Spain; michelle.turner{at}isglobal.org

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Paid employment is an essential component of adult life and a major determinant of health. However, underemployment, long-term unemployment, poor working conditions and a lack of job security all negatively affect health, may hinder economic growth and further increase inequalities in the population. Occupational exposures are related to a significant proportion of diseases including cancer, cardiorespiratory diseases and musculoskeletal and mental disorders, among others.1 The demographic shift, with an ageing and increasingly diverse workforce, makes the impact of work on healthy ageing and disease prognosis a key issue. Rapid changes in employment patterns and exposures along with occupational restructuring and the increasing use of new technologies further increase the importance of research in occupational health.2

Europe currently has some of the most valuable occupational, industrial and population cohorts for aetiological research worldwide. However, relatively limited sample sizes of individual studies and lack of data harmonisation have meant that evidence of potential occupational hazards is often inconsistent and inconclusive, leading to delayed regulatory action. Better integration and coordination of these cohorts would improve the optimal exploitation of these resources, essential to underpin evidence-based interventions and policy.

The benefits of large-scale co-ordination can be seen in several recent initiatives. MODERNET, a 2010–2014 European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) action, created a network to develop new techniques for surveillance of trends in occupational diseases and tracing new and emerging risks. Changes …

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