Dr. Peters

Exposure to hazards at work may vary by sex (biology) and gender (social construct). For example, men and women tend to cluster in certain occupations, their tasks and use of protective measures may differ, and their biological responses to exposures may vary. However, occupational health research has generally failed to consider these differences, often omitting women from studies, assigning the same exposure to men and women in the analyses of health outcomes, and ignoring how gender and workplace culture leads to differences in exposure and disease risk in men and women.

The objective of this project is to advance existing systems that quantify exposure to occupational hazards and disease risk in Canada by focusing on sex/gender differences.

In particular, we will:

  • Identify key hazards for which occupational exposure or disease risk differs by sex/gender by conducting an environmental scan and key informant interviews.
  • Estimate the prevalence and level of exposure to these key hazards by sex/gender, using CAREX Canada estimates and an occupational asthma job exposure matrix as starting points.
  • Create detailed job exposure matrices that take sex/gender into consideration for the key hazards.
  • Apply newly created job exposure matrices to two, existing Canadian cohorts (the Ontario and Manitoba Occupational Disease Surveillance Systems) and calculate the risk of three diseases (cancer, dermatitis, and asthma) among these workers

By adding sex and gender considerations into CAREX Canada’s estimates and creating current, national, sex/gender-specific exposure estimation tools, exposure misclassification will be reduced and the ability to detect real exposure-outcome associations in epidemiological studies will improve. Findings may help target occupational disease prevention efforts with a sex and gender lens.

Co-principal investigators: Dr. Cheryl E. Peters

Co-investigators: Dr. Paul Demers, Dr. Mieke Koehoorn, Dr. Marie-Élise Parent

Collaborators: Lynda Brown, Dr. Vikki Ho, Dr. Allen Kraut, Dr. Nathan DeBono

Funder: CIHR Project Grant (Fall 2020)