Various estimates place the family physician's contribution to occupational health as covering the health needs of up to 90% of all American workers. Most people think of occupational health in terms of our tremendous industries such as steel and automobile, where the workers have the advantages of good medical departments with full-time medical and auxiliary personnel. The fact is, however, that only a small percentage of Americans work in these huge industries. Most workers are in bakeries, stores, machine shops, and thousands of small factories which have little or nothing in the way of occupational health programs. It is for the workers in these operations that the family physician must take responsibility.
The family physician is well qualified to do this job, but too often he is not fully aware of the health problems peculiar to his patients' employment. The worker in a laundry, for example, may be exposed to