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Examining racial disparity within occupation versus adjusting for race using the National Occupational Mortality Surveillance database.

Birdsey J; Alterman T; Petersen MR
APHA 131st Annual Meeting and Exposition, San Francisco, California, November 15-19, 2003. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2003 Nov; :61890
Surveillance of racial disparity may be a valuable tool for detecting hazardous occupational exposures. Reasons for this are twofold: (1) workers of different racial or ethnic groups may be clustered as to task or work area, possibly resulting in one group being more highly exposed to occupational hazards, 1-3 and (2) comparing workers within the same occupation may help control for confounders such as socioeconomic status and tobacco use. Demonstrate the potential utility of occupation-specific black/white mortality odds ratios (MORs) in occupational health surveillance. The National Occupational Mortality Surveillance database was used to analyze lung cancer mortality of 184,736 black and white employees of primary metal industries, adjusting for age and cohort effect. Coke oven workers have increased lung cancer mortality due to occupational exposures.4 Additionally, non-white coke oven workers are more likely than white coke oven workers to occupy positions with the highest exposure levels, resulting in greater lung cancer mortality among non-whites.1 Our analyses agreed with these findings when black vs. white MORs were calculated for oven workers and other blue-collar workers (oven workers MOR = 1.37, 95% CI 1.09-1.73; other blue-collar MOR = 1.01, 95% CI 0.96-1.06). However, when the oven worker vs. other blue-collar worker MOR (adjusted for race) was calculated, no increased risk was detected for coke oven workers (MOR = 1.03, 95% CI 0.94-1.13). Where exposure varies by race, examination of the occupation-specific black vs. white mortality odds ratio may increase the ability to detect potentially hazardous exposures.
Racial-factors; Mortality-data; Mortality-rates; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Tobacco; Tobacco-smoke; Lung-cancer; Age-factors; Demographic-characteristics; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
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APHA 131st Annual Meeting and Exposition, San Francisco, California, November 15-19, 2003
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division