Among All Miners, Coal Miners Demonstrate a Disproportionately High Prevalence of Obstructive Spirometric Abnormality and Chronic Bronchitis.
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To compare the prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) between miners extracting coal versus other minerals.The study population was based on New Mexico miners, mostly Hispanic and American Indian, attending a rural community-based mobile screening clinic program between 1989 and 2014. We compared self-reported symptoms, lung diseases, and spirometric patterns between 1353 coal miners and 4140 non-coal miners.Obstruction was the most common abnormal spirometric pattern among all miners (16.9%). Coal miners were more likely to demonstrate an obstructive pattern and report chronic bronchitis symptoms than non-coal miners (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.24, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.03, 1.48; and OR = 1.47, 95% CI: 1.24, 1.75, respectively). These associations remained significant among never smoking miners.The prevention and management of COPD among coal miners deserves greater emphasis by rural health care delivery systems.