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Pediatr Clin North Am. 2001 Oct;48(5):1267-89.

Adolescent occupational exposures and pediatric-adolescent take-home exposures.

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Departments of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine, Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA.


Thousands of adolescents are employed and routinely incur occupational exposures as part of their work. Case reports of adolescent exposure-related fatalities and illness, coupled with observational studies of chemical and other exposures with potential health risks, create a strong case for better tracking of work-related exposures and illness, better training for all working adolescents, education of their parents about risks, more clinical involvement in the health and safety of working adolescents, and advocacy for safer adolescent work environments. Because adolescents are neither children nor adults, much research is needed to clarify exposure patterns and risks; however, existing data on adolescent occupational injury and knowledge of exposures to adults in similar work environments permit immediate interventions. The most applicable information from the growing knowledge of environmental health in young children also can be borrowed and applied, especially to younger workers, such as those on farms, who may be children rather than adolescents. Crucial to future protection of working youth from occupational exposures are application of knowledge that already is possessed about occupational risks to adults, a cultural change in the way the US population views risks of chemical exposures, and improved occupational health and safety protection for all adult workers. Improving occupational health for working adolescents may be more politically acceptable and thus feasible than starting with adults, but ultimately the two are linked inextricably. These are new realms for pediatricians, but pediatrician input is needed greatly on all of these levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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