Association of Exposure to Chemicals with Dyspnea among Employed Workers: Analysis of the 3rd Korean Working Conditions Survey

근로자의 화학적 노출과 주관적 호흡곤란 증상간의 연관성: 3차 근로환경조사 자료 분석

Park, Moon-Young;Hwang, Sung-Ho;Hong, Kimyong;Oh, Se-Eun;Lee, Kyoung-Mu

  • Received : 2015.10.06
  • Accepted : 2016.03.24
  • Published : 2016.03.31


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether chemical exposure among workers has relevance to dyspnea using data from the $3^{rd}$ Korea Working Conditions Survey. Methods: The research subjects were 29,711 wage workers. Chemical exposures consist of four factors, (1) breathing in vapors, fumes, dust and dirt, (2) breathing in organic solvent vapors, (3) handling or touching chemicals, and (4) secondhand smoke. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the association between chemical exposure and dyspnea in the last 12months using proc surveylogistic in SAS 9.3 statistical software excluding people who had received a diagnosis of hypertension or obesity that can affect the respiratory distress symptoms(n=27,842). Results: Chemical exposure among workers was associated with dyspnea after adjustment for demographics and job characteristics. Prevalence of dyspnea was 4.9 per 1,000 among men and 5.8 per 1,000. Compared to a total score of 0 points of chemical exposure among workers, a total score of 1, 2-3, and 4 points tended to have increased risk of dyspnea in a dose-response manner for both men (OR=1.43, 1.93, and 4.26; P-for trend=0.002) and women(OR=1.10, 2.81, and 7.70; P-for trend=0.002). Stratified analysis by duration of current job showed that the association between chemical exposure and dyspnea tended to get stronger until 15 years and then disappeared afterwards, which reflects healthy worker survivor effect. Conclusions: We observed significant association between chemical exposure and dyspnea using the data of the $3^{rd}$ Korea Working Conditions Survey. Our results warrants providing knowledge related to chemical exposure, performing prevention activities, and creating various health policies to protect workers.


chemical exposure;dyspnea;Korea Working Conditions Survey;healthy worker survivor effect


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