Occupation and Environmental Heat-Associated Deaths in Maricopa County, Arizona: A Case-Control Study

Diana B. Petitti, Sharon Harlan, Gerardo Chowell-Puente, Darren Ruddell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background:Prior research shows that work in agriculture and construction/extraction occupations increases the risk of environmental heat-associated death.Purpose:To assess the risk of environmental heat-associated death by occupation.Methods:This was a case-control study. Cases were heat-caused and heat-related deaths occurring from May-October during the period 2002-2009 in Maricopa County, Arizona. Controls were selected at random from non-heat-associated deaths during the same period in Maricopa County. Information on occupation, age, sex, and race-ethnicity was obtained from death certificates. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate odds ratios for heat-associated death.Results:There were 444 cases of heat-associated deaths in adults (18+ years) and 925 adult controls. Of heat-associated deaths, 332 (75%) occurred in men; a construction/extraction or agriculture occupation was described on the death certificate in 115 (35%) of these men. In men, the age-adjusted odds ratios for heat-associated death were 2.32 (95% confidence interval 1.55, 3.48) in association with construction/extraction and 3.50 (95% confidence interval 1.94, 6.32) in association with agriculture occupations. The odds ratio for heat-associated death was 10.17 (95% confidence interval 5.38, 19.23) in men with unknown occupation. In women, the age-adjusted odds ratio for heat-associated death was 6.32 (95% confidence interval 1.48, 27.08) in association with unknown occupation. Men age 65 years and older in agriculture occupations were at especially high risk of heat-associated death.Conclusion:The occurrence of environmental heat-associated death in men in agriculture and construction/extraction occupations in a setting with predictable periods of high summer temperatures presents opportunities for prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere62596
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 29 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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