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December 20, 1976

Meat-Wrappers' Asthma

Author Affiliations

University of California School of Medicine San Diego

JAMA. 1976;236(25):2846-2847. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270260012011

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To the Editor.—  Recent letters (236:1117, 1976) regarding "meat-wrappers' asthma" are puzzling in form and, in some respects, substance. For the medical scientist, there should be neither pleasure nor happiness in continued controversy about whether a given industrial exposure causes illness. Pleasure and happiness derive only from resolution of the question, a resolution that cannot be achieved by anecdote. Only careful, controlled studies in the work place can do so; and such studies are not yet available.While such studies are awaited, of course, rational preventive measures can be undertaken in case a true hazard exists. This can and should be done without prejudice as to the ultimate facts. Unfortunately, Drs Bardana and Andrasch do us a special disservice while the facts are sought by cluttering up the meat-wrappers' picture with comments on the hazards of exposure to vinyl chloride monomer. No free vinyl chloride monomer has been demonstrated in