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JAMA 100 Years Ago
December 7, 2011


JAMA. 2011;306(21):2392. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1702

Industrial diseases are “morbid results of occupational activity traceable to specific causes or labor conditions, and followed by more or less extended incapacity for work.” Such diseases come about in two ways: Special industries give rise to their own peculiar ailments; thus result “phossy jaw” among match-makers, lead, arsenic, mercury poisoning, caisson disease and the like. In the second place special industries render the workmen susceptible to certain common types of disease; as when laborers in dust-evolving trades succumb to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Among disease-engendering occupations are glass-blowing; work in cotton factories; the work which young girls must do in the trimming-rooms of packing establishments, at a temperature lower than that generally obtaining in refrigerators; the work of the locomotive fireman, who, when asked how often through his hours of labor he bent his back, answered “just once”; the nystagmus-inducing work of miners; trades inducing specific infections, such as anthrax, and so forth.