[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
December 18, 1981

The Occupational and Environmental Health History

Author Affiliations

From the Occupational Health Program, Department of Physiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston. Dr Goldman is now with the Department of Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Cambridge Hospital, Cambridge, Mass. Dr Peters is now with the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Division of Occupational Health, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

JAMA. 1981;246(24):2831-2836. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320240039022

Occupational and environmental diseases frequently masquerade as routine medical disorders. Yet environmental factors rarely enter into the clinician's differential diagnosis. This article provides a sequence of steps that can be used by the practicing physician for detecting occupational diseases: Step 1: Routine screening questions for all patients (List of job titles? Exposure to fumes, dusts, chemicals, loud noise, or radiation? Temporal relationship of the chief complaint to activities at work or at home?). Step 2: Consideration of sources of exposure (workplace or home surroundings). Step 3: Identification and handling of the hazardous agent. Step 4: Follow-up, consultation, and resolution of the problem. Equipped with this approach, the clinician can play an important role in the detection and prevention of occupational- and environmental-related diseases.

(JAMA 1981;246:2831-2836)