The need for a comprehensive view of occupational health problems in developing nations was suggested by a recent occupational health delegation to China. Such problems in most developing nations are superimposed on a background of scarce economic resources, rapid industrialization, and socioeconomic dislocation as well as a poor nutritional and general health status of the population. Occupational health problems are exacerbated in these countries by the presence of a high proportion of very small firms, inadequate attention to industrial hygiene and ergonomic principles for worker health and safety, and a lack of toxicologic and epidemiologic data. The peculiar case of China is noted, wherein only some of the characteristics of a developing nation are exhibited. The Chinese model for occupational health as observed in a spectrum of industries including textiles, paint, and steel is described. Recent political and economic developments are discussed along with their implications for Chinese health policy in general and for occupational health practice in particular.
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