Occupational exposures and longitudinal lung function decline
Background Few longitudinal studies have been conducted on occupational exposure and lung function. This study investigated occupational dust exposure effects on lung function and whether genetic variants influence such effects.
Methods The study population (1,332 participants) was from the Framingham Heart Study, in which participant lung function measures were available from up to five examinations over nearly 17 years. Occupational dust exposures were classified into “more” and “less” likely dust exposure. We used linear mixed effects models for the analysis.
Results Participants with more likely dust exposure had a mean 4.5 mL/year excess loss rate of FEV1 over time. However, occupational dust exposures alone or interactions with age or time had no significant effect on FEV1/FVC. No statistically significant effects of genetic modifications in the different subgroups were identified for FEV1 loss.
Conclusions Occupational dust exposures may accelerate the rate of FEV1 loss but not FEV1/FVC loss.