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Annu Rev Public Health. 2004;25:139-53.

Genetic testing in the workplace: ethical, legal, and social implications.

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Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


With the completion of the Human Genome Project, it is likely that genetic testing for susceptibility to a wide range of diseases will increase in society. One venue for such increased testing is likely to be the workplace as employers attempt to protect workers from unhealthy gene-environment interactions, improve productivity, and control escalating health care costs. Past and recent examples of genetic testing in the workplace raise serious concerns that such testing could pose a significant threat to workers' privacy, autonomy, and dignity. Thus, defining the ethically, legally, and socially appropriate and inappropriate uses of genetic testing in the workplace presents a major challenge for occupational health professionals in the years ahead.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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