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To determine the feasibility of applying a job exposure matrix (JEM) for classifying exposures to 18 asthmagens in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1999–2004.We cross-referenced 490 National Center for Health Statistics job codes used to develop the 40 NHANES occupation groups with 506 JEM job titles and assessed homogeneity in asthmagen exposure across job codes within each occupation group.In total, 399 job codes corresponded to one JEM job title, 32 to more than one job title, and 59 were not in the JEM. Three occupation groups had the same asthmagen exposure across job codes, 11 had no asthmagen exposure, and 26 groups had heterogeneous exposures across jobs codes.The NHANES classification of occupations limits the use of the JEM to evaluate the association between workplace exposures and asthma and more refined occupational data are needed to enhance work-related injury/illness surveillance efforts. Am. J. Ind. Med. 53:1220–1224, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.