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Occupational Health and the Arts

Hinkamp, David L. MD, MPH; McCann, Michael PhD, CIH; Babin, Angela MS, LMSW

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 9 - p 835–842
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001027

Objective: Work in the visual arts, performing arts, and writing can involve exposures to occupational hazards, including hazardous materials, equipment, and conditions, but few art workplaces have strong occupational health resources. Literature searches were conducted for articles that illustrate these concerns.

Methods: Medical databases were searched for art-related health articles. Other sources were also reviewed, including, unindexed art-health publications, and popular press articles.

Results: Information was located that described some exposed populations, art-related hazards, and resulting disorders. Anecdotal reports were used when more complete data were not available.

Conclusions: Health hazards in the arts are significant. Occupational health professionals are familiar with most of these concerns and understand their treatment and prevention. The occupational health approach can reduce the health hazards encountered by at-risk art workers. Additional research would benefit these efforts. Resources for further information are available.

Health in the Arts Program, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, IL (Dr Hinkamp); CPWR, The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD (Dr McCann); and The Actors Fund of America, New York, NY (Dr Babin).

Address correspondence to: David L. Hinkamp, MD, MPH, 4071 N. Broadway, Suite #1, Chicago, IL 60613-2117 (

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine