Morbidity and Health Risk Factors Among New Mexico Miners: A Comparison Across Mining Sectors

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Abstract

Objective:

This study examines differences in chronic health outcomes between coal, uranium, metal, and nonmetal miners.

Methods:

In a cross-sectional study using data from a health screening program for current and former New Mexico miners, log-binomial logistic regression models were used to estimate relative risks of respiratory and heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, and back pain associated with mining in each sector as compared with coal, adjusting for other relevant risk factors.

Results:

Differential risks in angina, pulmonary symptoms, asthma, cancer, osteoarthritis, and back pain between mining sectors were found.

Conclusions:

New Mexico miners experience different chronic health challenges across sectors. These results demonstrate the importance of using comparable data to understand how health risks differ across mining sectors. Further investigation among a broader geographic population of miners will help identify the health priorities and needs in each sector.

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