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Building Trades National Medical Screening Program
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Research Study
Introduction Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema and is characterized by chronic airflow obstruction, or inability to move air into and out of the lungs quickly. About 12 million people in the U.S. have a diagnosis of COPD and many more individuals have COPD that has not been diagnosed by a medical doctor. To learn more about COPD please see:

Study Purpose

While some occupational exposures are known causes of COPD, many exposures experienced by construction workers may increase the risk of COPD but need further study to confirm such a connection. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is funding this research to develop a better understanding of the risk of COPD experienced by construction workers and specific exposures that might increase the risk of COPD. This information can be used to design prevention measures to reduce exposures and decrease the risk of developing COPD for workers in the construction trades.

The Principal Investigator for this research is Dr. John Dement from the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Duke University Medical Center. Co-investigators are Dr. Laura Welch and Dr. Knut Ringen from the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR).


Participation is voluntary. Individuals don't need to have been diagnosed with COPD, or experience breathing problems in order to participate. Participants will complete a 30 minute telephone interview about their work experience. The interview will ask about work tasks that resulted in exposures to vapors, gases, dusts, or fumes. As a "thank you," study participants will be sent a $10 gift card.

Risk, Confidentiality, and Use of Data

There are no physical risks involved with participation in this study. The information participants provide is strictly confidential and no personal or identifying information about participants will be released without participant consent, except when required by law or a court order. At the time the study ends, we will destroy all personally identifying information, such as name, address, and social security number contained in study files.


By participating in this study, participants will receive no direct benefit. However, the information provided by participants will help researchers identify specific exposures possibly increasing the risk of COPD. This data will help inform prevention strategies to reduce exposures that increase the risk of developing COPD.


There are no costs to participants for taking part in the study.

More Information

More information about COPD from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute can be found at