To the Editor.—
The MEDICAL NEWS report on art-related hazards was both timely and informative.1 Often overlooked, however, are the artists who are among the nation's elderly (25.5 million people older than 65 years in 1980).2 In a recent summer research project, I found that artrelated hazards may be a major cause of preventable toxic exposure in the elderly community. As a medical student, I completed 37 in-depth occupational histories in an Arizona retirement community (19 men, 18 women; average age, 74 years).3 Of this series, ten (27%) persons attributed a chronic disability to a past occupational exposure, while four (11%) persons had recently experienced symptom-producing art-related exposures (three painting and one woodworking).Retirement is a time for many people to pursue a favorite hobby, and some of these can involve hazardous chemical exposures. My study indicates that many retired persons devote so much time to these
Conklin BR. Environmental Hazards to Elderly Artists. JAMA. 1984;252(22):3130. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350220038021
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