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Editorials |

Occupational Asthma: Coming of Age

I. LEONARD BERNSTEIN, M.D.
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Supported in part by grant OH 773-01 from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.


University of Cincinnati Medical CenterCincinnati, Ohio


Ann Intern Med. 1982;97(1):125-127. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-97-1-125
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Although Bernadino Ramazzini described wheezing among grain sifters in the beginning of the 18th century (1), the significance of asthma as an industrial disease was not generally recognized until the middle of this century. This prolonged information gap was due to a proportionately greater focus on structural lung damage mediated by inorganic and organic dusts, and less concern about possible long-term disability as an aftermath of reversible obstructive airways disease. However, as the occurrence of occupationally related asthma increased in several high technology industries (such as chemical, plastics, and pharmaceutical) after World War II, there developed a general consensus among

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