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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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Not all occupational diseases have been identified

Helsinki (
10.08.2010 - Juhani Artto) In 2007 almost 6,300 occupational or
suspected occupational diseases were confirmed. Two thirds of the cases
concerned men, and in the food processing industry employees face the
biggest risk of falling victim to an occupational disease. The annual number of confirmed cases has remained fairly stable over many consecutive years.

However, authoritative statistics, as maintained by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, does not tell the whole truth about the situation. This has been openly admitted by Ari Kaukiainen, a senior physician at the institute, in the June issue of the institute's magazine Työ Terveys Turvallisuus. He believes, that in reality, there are "significantly more cases" than those confirmed up until now.

In 2007 the most common occupational or suspected occupational diseases involved
noise injuries. Altogether 1,626 cases were confirmed, out of which almost 1,500 concerned men.

The second largest group revolved around those suffering from various skin diseases. There were
1,186 such cases. And one third of these were allergic contact dermatitis cases. Occupational skin diseases were most common in the food processing, chemical, pulp, paper and wood industries.

Musculoskeletal disorders were confirmed in 1,070 cases. The food processing,
textile, sewing, shoe, leather and woodwork industries are among the most risky sectors in regard to these disorders.

Asbestos-related diseases are still common although the material was
in Finland totally banned in 1994. In 2007 over 780 cases were confirmed altogether.