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Dangerous Dusts and Furtive Fumes

Jan Lieben, M.D.
JAMA. 1961;175(11):1021. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040110085027.
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To the Editor:—  I have read the editorial, "Dangerous Dusts and Furtive Fumes—'New' and Resurrected," which appeared in The Journal, 174:1321 (Nov. 5) 1960, dealing with a respiratory disease of mushroom workers described by Bringhurst, Byrne, and Gershen-Cohen, with great interest. In it the authors are correctly quoted that the disease has shown a mysterious predilection for migrant Puerto Rican laborers.After the appearance of this article, the Division of Occupational Health of the Pennsylvania Department of Health conducted an extensive investigation of the mushroom plants, which employ approximately 20,000 workers in this state. It became evident that the only reason for the "predilection for Puerto Rican laborers" was the fact that the plants from which Bringhurst and co-workers obtained their cases employed only Puerto Rican laborers for the particular operations, namely, the changing and cultivation of mushroom beds. During our investigation, we found that several other laborers who


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