Pesticides and other occupational exposures are associated with airway obstruction: the LifeLines cohort study.


Occupational exposures are important and possibly modifiable contributors to the global burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Exposure to vapours, gases, dusts and fumes (VGDF) has been associated with a two- to threefold higher COPD risk. Less is known about effects of occupational exposure to pesticides and solvents. In the current study, we assessed if VGDF, pesticides and solvents are associated with the level of lung function and the prevalence of airway obstruction in the general population.


We included 11 851 subjects aged 18-89 years from the LifeLines cohort study. Regression models assessing associations between occupational exposures (no/low/high), level of lung function (prebronchodilator FEV(1), FEV(1)/FVC) and mild and moderate/severe airway obstruction were adjusted for sex, age, height, weight, current/ex-smoking and packyears. Additionally, we stratified by smoking status and gender and tested for interaction. A second general population cohort (n=2364) was used to verify our initial findings.


Occupational exposure to VGDF and pesticides was associated with a lower level of FEV(1) and FEV(1)/FVC and with a higher prevalence of mild and moderate/severe airway obstruction in the two general populations investigated. There were no associations with exposure to solvents.


Occupational exposure to both VGDF and pesticides is associated with airway obstruction in the general population.


Occupational exposure; lung functions; obstruction

year of publication



  • Occup Environ Med.


  • de Jong, K
  • Boezen, HM
  • Kromhout, H
  • Vermeulen, R
  • Postma, DS
  • Vonk, JM
  • LifeLines Cohort study

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