Chemical and physical exposures in the emerging US green-collar workforce

Charles J. Chen, Kevin J. Moore, Cristina A. Fernandez, Kristopher L. Arheart, William G. LeBlanc, Manuel Cifuentes, Laura A. McClure, Sharon L. Christ, Lora E. Fleming, David J. Lee, Alberto J. Caban-Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: "Green collar" workers serve in occupations that directly improve environmental quality and sustainability. This study estimates and compares the prevalence of select physical and chemical exposures among green versus non-green U.S. workers. Methods: Data from the U.S. 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Occupational Health Supplement were linked to the Occupational Information Network (O-NET) Database. We examined four main exposures: 1) vapors, gas, dust, fumes (VGDF); 2) secondhand tobacco smoke; 3) skin hazards; 4) outdoor work. Results: Green-collar workers were significantly more likely to report exposure to VGDF and outdoor work than nongreen-collar workers [adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=1.25; 95% CI=1.11 to 1.40; AOR=1.44 (1.26 to 1.63), respectively]. Green-collar workers were less likely to be exposed to chemicals (AOR=0.80; 0.69 to 0.92). Conclusions: Green-collar workers appear to be at a greater risk for select workplace exposures. As the green industry continues to grow, it is important to identify these occupational hazards in order to maximize worker health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e91-e96
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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