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The prevalence of selected potentially hazardous workplace exposures in the US: Findings from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey

Authors

  • Geoffrey M. Calvert MD, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 4676 Columbia Parkway, R-17, Cincinnati, OH 45226.
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  • Sara E. Luckhaupt MD, MPH,

    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Aaron Sussell PhD, MPH,

    1. Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • James M. Dahlhamer PhD,

    1. Division of Health Interview Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland
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  • Brian W. Ward PhD

    1. Division of Health Interview Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland
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  • Disclosure Statement: The authors report no conflicts of interests.

  • Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or the National Center for Health Statistics.

Abstract

Objective

Assess the national prevalence of current workplace exposure to potential skin hazards, secondhand smoke (SHS), and outdoor work among various industry and occupation groups. Also, assess the national prevalence of chronic workplace exposure to vapors, gas, dust, and fumes (VGDF) among these groups.

Methods

Data were obtained from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). NHIS is a multistage probability sample survey of the civilian non-institutionalized population of the US. Prevalence rates and their variances were calculated using SUDAAN to account for the complex NHIS sample design.

Results

The data for 2010 were available for 17,524 adults who worked in the 12 months that preceded interview. The highest prevalence rates of hazardous workplace exposures were typically in agriculture, mining, and construction. The prevalence rate of frequent handling of or skin contact with chemicals, and of non-smokers frequently exposed to SHS at work was highest in mining and construction. Outdoor work was most common in agriculture (85%), construction (73%), and mining (65%). Finally, frequent occupational exposure to VGDF was most common among mining (67%), agriculture (53%), and construction workers (51%).

Conclusion

We identified industries and occupations with the highest prevalence of potentially hazardous workplace exposures, and provided targets for investigation and intervention activities. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:635–646, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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