5. Occupational Toxicology

  1. Michael I. Greenberg MD, MPH, FAAEM, FACPM, FACOEM
  1. John A. Curtis MD and
  2. David A. Haggerty MD

Published Online: 18 FEB 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444329629.ch5

Occupational Emergency Medicine

Occupational Emergency Medicine

How to Cite

Curtis, J. A. and Haggerty, D. A. (2011) Occupational Toxicology, in Occupational Emergency Medicine (ed M. I. Greenberg), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444329629.ch5

Editor Information

  1. Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Author Information

  1. Department of Emergency Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 FEB 2011
  2. Published Print: 11 FEB 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405180719

Online ISBN: 9781444329629



  • dose–response relationship;
  • occupational exposure limits;
  • time-weighted average;
  • material safety data sheets;
  • decontamination


Over time, epidemiological studies have proved concrete associations between certain occupations and various exposures: pneumoconiosis in coal miners; lung cancer in uranium miners, smelters exposed to arsenic trioxide, and coke oven workers; various malignancies in radium dial painters; and mesothelioma in workers exposed to asbestos. Owing to the shortage of occupational physicians and limited worker access to health care, the diagnosis and treatment of occupational diseases rely increasingly on the emergency physician. This chapter is organized to guide the emergency physician who encounters patients with toxic exposures. Occupational and toxicological diseases often go unrecognized, and by performing an appropriate occupational history and exposure assessment, the emergency physician can recognize dangerous exposures and prevent more in the future. The chapter also focuses on decontamination, resuscitation, gathering of appropriate information, and supportive care.