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Occupation on the death certificate: to use or not to use, that is the question.
Am J Ind Med 1988 Feb; 14(2):119-120
Discussions centering on the inclusion of occupational information on death certificates were held at the NIOSH and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) conference held in Washington, D.C. in January of 1987; in this letter to the editor, various questions and concerns arising from that meeting were discussed. Much of the discussion considered the low cost, ready access to such data which is important in considering data entry to a system. Also of concern was the reliability of the occupational information contained on the certificate. What is needed is information which is representative of lifetime work history, not simply the last known occupation. Studies were cited which indicated that death certificate statements concerning occupation do not correspond to lifetime occupations in 30 to 50 percent of the cases. There had been some suspicion, however, that coding of death certificates in large urban areas is less accurate than such coding in rural areas. Until the validity of such data can be determined and found to be acceptable, the use of them in epidemiological studies must remain suspect.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Cancer; Mortality-surveys; Mortality-rates; Epidemiology; Risk-analysis; Cancer-rates
Dr. David E. Lilienfeld, Division of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Box 1057, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029-6574
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Michigan Cancer Foundation, Detroit, Michigan
Page last reviewed: November 20, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division