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Evaluation of respiratory hazards in the working environment through environmental, epidemiologic and medical surveys.

Becklake MR
Proceedings of the VIIth International Pneumoconioses Conference, August 23-26, 1988, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 90-108, 1990 Sep; (Part I):16-21
Using environmental, epidemiological, and medical surveys to evaluate respiratory hazards in dusty work environments was discussed. The historical background of the recognition of pneumoconioses as being caused by dusty work environments was summarized. The role of epidemiology in environmental and medical surveys of respiratory hazards in the workplace was considered. The basic principles of epidemiology were described. Epidemiological techniques when combined with statistical methods offer a basis for sampling, particularly when the number of subjects exceeds available resources. Epidemiology also provides a means of establishing statistical power and for evaluating the effects of more than one factor in diseases of multifactorial etiology. The essential elements of an epidemiological survey were discussed. These include creating an appropriate experimental design, determining dose response relationships, and modeling exposure profiles. Measuring tools used in epidemiological research on respiratory hazards were discussed. These include chest X-rays, respiratory symptom questionnaires, and lung function tests. Unresolved issues and perceptions related to epidemiological studies of occupational respiratory hazards were considered. These include determining the best way for evaluating the effectiveness of current pneumoconiosis control measures, investigating links between pneumoconiosis and tuberculosis, obtaining the best use of existing databases, and improving communication between the various occupational health disciplines.
Work environment; Occupational hazards; Respiratory system disorders; Risk analysis; Occupational exposure; Surveillance programs; Occupational respiratory disease; Dust exposure
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 90-108
Source Name
Proceedings of the VIIth International Pneumoconioses Conference, August 23-26, 1988, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division