Rates and costs of respiratory illness in coal mining: a cross-industry comparative analysis.
To estimate the prevalence and costs of respiratory illness for workers in coal mining, compared with other US industries.
Using 5 years of insurance claims data for an annual average of 96,240 adult males, we model the probability and costs of respiratory illness as a function of workers' industry and other factors.
Controlling for nonindustry factors, workers in coal mining had significantly higher rates of respiratory illness claims (by 2.1% to 3.3% points) compared with other mining, agriculture, construction, and manufacturing. For coal mining workers with respiratory illness, annual medical care costs for these claims were also significantly higher (by $111 to $289). Surprisingly, drug costs were mostly lower (by $17 to $268).
Our findings underscore the continued importance and potential cost effectiveness of measures to protect miners from harmful occupational exposures, particularly to coal dust.
Van Houtven, G; Reed, WR; Biddle, EA; Volkwein, JC; Clayton, L; Finkelstein, E
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