JAMES L. WEEKS, SC.D.
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To the editor: In his article, Richman (1) obscures some important features of the federal black lung program that are relevant to compensation for other occupational diseases. For example, a problem recognized in the "Interim Report to Congress on Occupational Diseases," but not mentioned by him is that many occupational diseases are clinically indistinguishable from those that arise from nonoccupational causes (2), as with respiratory disease (other than coal workers' pneumoconiosis) among coal miners. Given this problem, how is a workers' compensation board to decide whether to award a claim?
The federal black lung program involves a broad definition of
WEEKS JL. Occupational Lung Disease. Ann Intern Med. ;98:668. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-98-5-668_1
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1983;98(5_Part_1):668.
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