Transmission of occupational disease to family contacts

Am J Ind Med. 1986;9(6):543-50. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700090606.


As recognition of occupational illness increases, the scope of health problems related to work widens. An important area of concern is the worker's family, which has been shown to be at increased risk of disease attributable to the hazards previously thought to be relevant only to the worker. Such "para-occupational" disease occurs particularly in spouses and children through transport by the worker of hazardous materials from the worksite into the home. The most common vehicle has been contaminated work clothing brought home for cleaning. Outbreaks of severe illness caused by lead, beryllium, asbestos, and other compounds have been traced to home contamination by industrial dust. In this review, we describe reports of "para-occupational" illness that demonstrate the importance of early recognition by medical professionals of this cause of illness and of strict control of the dissemination of hazardous materials outside the workplace.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arsenic Poisoning
  • Asbestosis / transmission
  • Berylliosis / transmission
  • Child
  • Chlordecone / poisoning
  • Estradiol Congeners / poisoning
  • Humans
  • Lead Poisoning / transmission
  • Occupational Diseases / transmission*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / poisoning


  • Estradiol Congeners
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls
  • Chlordecone