Occupational dust exposure of any kind bumps COPD risk: meta-analysis

  • Peng C & al.
  • Medicine (Baltimore)
  • 21/08/2020

  • Miriam Davis, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Occupational dust exposure of any kind is a risk factor for COPD, according to a meta-analysis of 9 studies with almost 11,000 workers.
  • In 3 studies analyzing the intensity of exposure, higher exposure to dust was related to higher probability of COPD, indicative of a dose-response relationship.

Why this matters

  • Patients with occupational dust exposure should be evaluated for COPD. 
  • Patients with COPD should be encouraged to reduce occupational dust exposure.

Study design

  • Meta-analysis of 9 cross-sectional cohort and case-control studies involving 10,906 workers.
  • Exposures were to cement dust, mineral dust (2 studies), textile dust, any dust (2 studies), organic dust, quartz dust, and iron oxide dust.
  • Funding: Key Research and Development Plan of Shandong Province, China.

Key results

  • Occupational dust was associated with 51% increased odds of COPD, with adjustment for smoking (pooled aOR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.27-1.79; I2=40%).
  • In 3 studies, the odds of COPD increased with higher concentrations of exposure.
  • Example of exposure-dependent aORs (95% CIs) from 1 study:
    • Low exposure: 1.83 (1.05-3.19).
    • Medium exposure: 2.65 (1.54-4.58).
    • High exposure: 3.83 (1.93-7.57).
  • Publication bias was not found.

Limitations

  • Moderate heterogeneity.
  • Mostly cross-sectional, observational designs.