Why Are Occupational Diseases Difficult to Recognize?
Figure 3. Many occupational diseases are hidden
below the surface.
Prevention is dependent upon recognition.
The number of occupational diseases reported is like the tip of an iceberg. Many
occupational diseases are not recognized as such. A patient with occupational
asthma has the same symptoms as any other patient with asthma. For asbestosis,
there is a latency of at least ten years between exposure and disease. Medical
students receive little training in the field of industrial toxicology. Finally,
a large knowledge base is required to understand and diagnose work-related
illnesses caused by chemicals and biological agents. [Rosenstock,