NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

State-specific respiratory disease mortality surveillance of agricultural workers.

Musgrave KJ; Althouse RB; Castellan RM
National Conference on State-Based Occupational Health and Safety Activities, September 3-6, 1991, Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati, OH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1991 Sep; :30
Death certificates represent a largely untapped resource for occupational mortality surveillance. We used national multiple-cause-of-death data to generate leads as to potential occupational respiratory disease problems in 14 states with industry and occupation information for each of the years 1985-1988. Previous studies have shown agricultural workers to be at increased risk of developing respiratory diseases. However, most mortality studies have considered only crude mortality using underlying cause of death and may therefore underestimate the public health importance of contributing causes of death. Furthermore, crude mortality data is a poor measure of premature mortality in the working age population. We utilized multiple-cause-of-death data to estimate the years of working life lost (YWLL, ages 20-64) for agricultural workers in each of the 14 states. Standardized rates for YWLL were derived across 11 respiratory disease categories using the 1980 Census to obtain estimates of the "population at risk". Occupational mortality surveillance based on death certificates is particularly useful where cohort studies may be difficult. This applies to occupational groups in agriculture where small non-unionized work units are commonplace. However, inaccuracies in death certificate occupation and industry statements and inability to control for confounding variables such as smoking suggest that results should be interpreted with care.
Respiratory-system-disorders; Occupational-diseases; Mortality-rates; Mortality-data; Surveillance-programs; Agricultural-workers; Agricultural-industry; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings; Abstract
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
National Conference on State-Based Occupational Health and Safety Activities, September 3-6, 1991, Cincinnati, Ohio
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division