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The efficacy of a population-based comparison group on cross-sectional occupational health studies.

Schulte-PA; Singal-M; Stringer-WT; Kominsky-JR; Landrigan-PJ
Am J Epidemiol 1982 Dec; 116(6):981-989
The efficacy of using a pool of comparison subjects from the Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of the National Center for Health Statistics in occupational health studies was evaluated. Comparison groups from the pool (a multistage stratified probability sample of the civilian population) were drawn to correspond to 246 workers from four commercial and industrial facilities. Groups included were workers from a steel factory, a manufacturer of shipping drums, a manufacturer of metal alloy powders, and workers from the maintenance and housekeeping department of a university. Two comparison subjects were chosen for each occupational subject and were matched for age, sex, race, marital status, and income. Demographic variables such as years of education and country of national origin, behavioral factors such as smoking or drinking, and nonoccupational health factors including history of heart disease, food allergy, occurrence of polio, and weight were assessed. There was no statistically significant difference in comparison and occupational groups in terms of years of education. Considerable differences were found in terms of country of origin. Due to local ethnic composition, a higher percentage of Italian and Polish workers was found in the occupational group, with few members of groups generally considered minority. There was no significant difference in smoking or drinking habits in three of the four groups compared to the pool. No significant differences were found in weight or health factors considered. The authors conclude that the pool may be a useful source for comparison of disease rate when occupational exposure is a determining factor.
Epidemiology; Biostatistics; Occupations; Sociological-factors; Demographic-characteristics; Occupational-diseases; Racial-factors; Risk-analysis; Health-survey
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Journal Article
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Special Populations; Work Environment and Workforce
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American Journal of Epidemiology