‘Take-Home’ Exposures Still Persist

Posted on  by Senior JPB Fellow Diana Ceballos, PhD, MS, CIH, and Michael Flynn, MA

Occupational health has evolved into a largely technical field dedicated to identifying and eliminating the physical, chemical, and biologic hazards found at the workplace (Peckham et al, 2017). Central to this approach has been the distinction between work-related and non-work-related exposures, injuries, and illnesses which has become a line of demarcation between occupational safety and health and other disciplines within public health (Flynn 2018; Flynn and Wickramage 2017). However, there is growing recognition of the need for a more holistic and nuanced perspective on work and its impact on population health (Ahonen et al 2018; Schulte and Vainio 2010; WHO 2008). The take-home pathway, in which a worker contaminates shared family spaces with toxic exposures that have been tracked home from the workplace, illustrates the limitations of addressing issues only in the workplace or only in the community. Read more.