INTRODUCTION: Inflammatory biomarkers are associated with negative health outcomes. In this study, we investigated the associations between airborne occupational exposures and levels and changes in inflammatory biomarkers.
METHODS: We included 79 604 adults at baseline from the Lifelines cohort of which 48 403 (60.8%) subjects were followed for a median of 4.5 years. Airborne occupational exposures at the current or last-held job at baseline were estimated with the occupational asthma-specific job-exposure matrix. Both in cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, we used linear regression models (adjusted for age, sex, education, monthly income, body mass index, smoking, pack-years, asthma and anti-inflammatory medication) to investigate the associations between airborne occupational exposures (allergens, reactive chemicals, pesticides and micro-organisms) and inflammatory biomarkers (C reactive protein (CRP), eosinophils and neutrophils).
RESULTS: In the cross-sectional analyses, exposure to allergens, reactive chemicals and micro-organisms was associated with a lower (Log) CRP level (B(95% CI)=-0.05 (-0.08 to -0.02),-0.05(-0.08 to -0.02) and -0.09(-0.16 to -0.02), respectively). Likewise, exposure to allergens, reactive chemicals, pesticides and micro-organisms was associated with a lower (log) neutrophils count (-0.01 (-0.02 to -0.01), -0.01 (-0.02 to -0.01),-0.02 (-0.04 to -0.01) and -0.02(-0.03 to -0.01), respectively). No association between airborne occupational exposures and eosinophils count was found. In the longitudinal analyses, no association between airborne occupational exposures and changes in inflammatory biomarkers was found.
CONCLUSIONS: At baseline, airborne occupational exposures are inversely associated with inflammation; no effect of occupational exposures on inflammation was found at follow-up. In the future studies, details of occupational exposures, such as duration of exposures and cumulative exposures, need to be included to investigate the airborne occupational exposures and inflammatory biomarkers.
- international occupational health
- occupational health practice