Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2013;39(1):106-111    pdf full text


Mortality attributable to occupational exposure in Sweden

by Järvholm B, Reuterwall C, Bystedt J

Objectives The objective of this study was to estimate the mortality from cancer, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases attributable to occupational exposure in Sweden.

Methods Estimates were calculated for men and women separately, and we considered only deaths between 25–74 years of age. We considered cancer exposures/sites classified as I or 2a according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Acute myocardial infarction was the only included cardiovascular disease. Respiratory diseases comprised chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) asthma, pneumoconiosis and alveolitis. All deaths of pneumoconiosis and alveolitis were considered work-related. Estimates were based on the Swedish mortality in 2007.

Results In total, we estimate that there are about 800 work-related deaths per year in the studied causes. The majority are due to acute myocardial infarction, with 126 deaths among women and 337 deaths among men attributable to job strain, shift work, exhaust gases, combustion products, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). There are 99 respiratory disease-related deaths, the vast majority from COPD (N=92). In total, 270 cancer deaths are estimated to be work-related. For men, half of the cases are attributed to asbestos exposure.

Conclusions Our results indicate that preventive measures to decrease occupational mortality should consider factors associated with myocardial infarction such as job strain, shift work and exhaust gases from vehicles and combustion products. Exposures to factors associated with COPD, such as dust, also seem important to prevent.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 2002;28(1):58-63  2001;27(3):161-213  2012;38(1):19-26  2004;30(2):85-128