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Annu Rev Public Health. 2011;32:149-59. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031210-101144.

Genetic susceptibility and the setting of occupational health standards.

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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226, USA.


As more is learned about genetic susceptibility to occupational and environmental hazards, there will be increasing pressure to use genetic susceptibility information in setting occupational health standards. Historically, this has not been done, but a growing body of research assesses inherited genetic factors as modifiers of the effects of hazardous exposures. Additionally, acquired genetic and epigenetic characteristics could also be used in standard setting. However, for both inherited and acquired genetic characteristics, many scientific, ethical, legal, and social issues could arise. Investigators need to examine the potential role and implications of using genetic information in standard setting. In this review, we focus primarily on inherited genetic factors and their role in occupational health standard setting.

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