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Communications to the Editor |

Work-Related Inhalation Injuries FREE TO VIEW

Steven Kazan, Esq.
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Kazan, McClain, Edises, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, and Farrise, Oakland, CA,  Università degli Studi di Udine, Udine, Italy

Correspondence to: Steven Kazan, Esq., Kazan, McClain, Edises, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, and Farrise, 171 Twelfth St, Third Floor, Oakland, CA 94607; e-mail: skazan@kazanlaw.com



Chest. 2002;122(5):1865-1866. doi:10.1378/chest.122.5.1865-a
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Published online

To the Editor:

I am writing with respect to the article by Valent et al (March 2002).1 This article is a very useful contribution to the literature on fatal, work-related acute inhalation injuries. However, the title and its placement in the section on occupational and environmental lung disease is misleading. Moreover, nowhere in the article is there specific reference to the fact that it deals only with acute exposures. By conservative estimates, there are at least 8,000 deaths annually in the United States caused by occupational asbestos exposure, almost all of which qualify as being caused by “fatal, work-related inhalation of harmful substances.” As one who has represented these victims for > 25 years and who continues to focus on both the litigation and legislative contexts in which our society must deal with occupational lung disease, I am concerned when a journal as prestigious as yours even inadvertently creates the opportunity for miscitation and inappropriate minimization of the real occupational disease problems still facing our society. Perhaps an appropriate qualification is in order. I would also suggest a little more attention to the “trappings” surrounding even the most useful of articles.

References

Valent, F, McGwin, GJ, Bovenzi, M, et al (2002) Fatal work-related inhalation of harmful substances in the United States.Chest12,969-975
 

To the Editor:

Mr. Kazan is right when interpreting that our article1in the March 2002 issue of CHEST deals only with acute exposures. However, we do not think that any misunderstanding could arise from the reading of the article, as we clearly state throughout the abstract and the article that we focus on occupational injuries. There is a consensus in the medical and epidemiologic community about what constitutes an injury. It might be useful, however, to report here the definition provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: “An injury is defined as any intentional or unintentional wound or damage to the body resulting from acute exposure to energy, such as heat, electricity, or kinetic energy from a crash, or from the absence of such essentials as heat or oxygen caused by a specific event, incident, or series of events within a single workday or shift.” This definition is available to anyone at the Web page of the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, our referenced source of data.2

References
Valent, F, McGwin, G, Bovenzi, M, et al Fatal work-related inhalation of harmful substances in the United States.Chest2002;121,969-975
 
US Department of Labor... Safety and health statistics. Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). 2002; Bureau of Labor Statistics. Washington, DC: Available at: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfdef.htm. Accessed September 27.
 

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Tables

References

Valent, F, McGwin, GJ, Bovenzi, M, et al (2002) Fatal work-related inhalation of harmful substances in the United States.Chest12,969-975
 
Valent, F, McGwin, G, Bovenzi, M, et al Fatal work-related inhalation of harmful substances in the United States.Chest2002;121,969-975
 
US Department of Labor... Safety and health statistics. Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). 2002; Bureau of Labor Statistics. Washington, DC: Available at: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfdef.htm. Accessed September 27.
 
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