Response from Frazier, et al.
Frazier-TM; Sestito-JP; Mullan-R; Whorton-MD
Am J Publ Health 1984 Jun; 74(6):622
The usefulness of death certificates in occupational mortality studies is discussed. It is asserted that occupational and industry data obtained from death certificates do not in general permit a direct inference about disease and workplace health hazards, nor should such information be used as a basis for a national health surveillance program. Quantifying and studying socioeconomic indicators of mortality has played a significant role in the past 100 years in identifying and controlling infectious diseases. It is noted that the decline of infectious diseases as a principal cause of mortality during this period was paralleled by increases in heart and respiratory diseases and cancer. Today, debate centers on lifestyle and occupational factors and the extent to which these factors contribute to the development of these disease processes. The decision by NIOSH, the Bureau of the Census, and the National Center for Health Statistics to code decedent industry and occupational information routinely is considered to be sound and cost effective. The value of these efforts, however, is no better than the quality of the data on which they are based. It is concluded that it is very important that the individual obtaining such information (usually the funeral director) be aware of the need for accurately and completely recording the decedent's usual occupation and industry.
NIOSH-Author; Epidemiology; Mortality-rates; Humans; Data-processing; Mortality-surveys; Information-processing; Disease-incidence; Industrial-exposures; Health-hazards
American Journal of Public Health