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Public Health Rev. 1994;22(3-4):251-70.

Clearing the air: the links between occupational and environmental air pollution control.

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  • 1Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of California San Francisco 94143-0924.


We reviewed the relationship between occupational respiratory medicine and the environmental health aspects of air pollution control. Although these fields share epidemiologic and toxicologic concerns, they collaborate infrequently. From an historical perspective, both occupational health and air pollution control efforts increased in response to the Industrial Revolution but only occasionally overlapped. Moreover, they were undermined by the belief in "bad air" as the cause of epidemic disease. In the twentieth century, occupational medicine and industrial hygiene professionals together addressed mass air pollution exposure incidents, but this period of interdisciplinary activity was brief. Later regulatory approaches, together with economic pressures, have tended to divide rather than integrate occupational and environmental health. Despite their differences, these disciplines are linked by common scientific challenges. Recent governmental and non-governmental efforts suggests that future efforts in occupational health and air pollution control may become better coordinated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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