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Cumulative Exposure to Pesticides Linked to Risk for COPD

Prevalence ratios for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increased with ever exposure, high cumulative exposure to pesticides at work

THURSDAY, Jan. 27, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Cumulative exposure to pesticides is associated with an increased risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study published online Jan. 26 in Thorax.

Sara De Matteis, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., from Imperial College London, and colleagues utilized the ALOHA+job exposure matrix (JEM), which rated exposure to 12 selected agents as no, low, or high exposure, to assess the individual lifetime exposure to occupational respiratory agents. The analysis included data for 94,514 participants with complete job histories and acceptable/repeatable spirometry and smoking data. Prevalence ratios were estimated using Poisson regression analysis adjusted for center, sex, age, smoking, and coexposure to JEM agents.

The researchers found that the risk for COPD was increased with pesticide exposure for ever exposure and high cumulative exposure (prevalence ratios, 1.13 and 1.32, respectively). Positive exposure-response trends were observed; these trends were confirmed among never smokers and never asthmatics.

“Cumulative exposure to pesticides is associated with an increased risk of COPD, with positive exposure-response trends,” the authors write. “Future studies focused on evaluating the effect of specific types of pesticides on chronic airway obstruction are warranted in order to inform focused workplace preventive strategies and avoid the associated COPD burden.”

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