Ramazzini, Bernardino

Ramazzini, Bernardino

(bārnärdē`nō rämät-tsē`nē), 1633–1717, Italian physician. He was professor at Modena (1682–1700) and at Padua until 1714. He is often called the father of industrial medicine, and his De Morbis Artificium was the first systematic exposition of occupational disease. Ramazzini saw the relationship between various metals and the symptoms of metallic poisoning that developed in the artisans who worked with them, and he recognized that paints were a factor in the poisoning of painters. He also made studies of diseases in other occupations (e.g., lung diseases of miners, eye conditions of printers). Although most physicians of that period prescribed cinchona bark (the source of quinine) for every type of fever, Ramazzini opposed such indiscriminate use of the drug and correctly reserved it for the treatment of malarial attacks only. He was also an epidemiologist; he described several plagues that occurred in his region.

Ramazzini, Bernardino


Born Oct. 4, 1633, in Carpi; died Nov. 5, 1714, in Padua. Italian physician and founder of occupational hygiene.

Ramazzini studied at the universities of Ferrara and Parma and became a physician in 1659. From 1682 to 1700 he held the chair of theoretical medicine at the University of Modena, and from 1700 he held the chair of practical medicine at the University of Padua.

Ramazzini’s principal work was Discourse on the Diseases of Artisans (1700; Russian translation, 1961), in which diseases characteristic of approximately 70 occupations were described; sections in the book included “On the Diseases of Writers and Scholars,” “On the Diseases of Scribes,” and “On the Diseases of Pharmacists.” Ramazzini discussed the hazards arising from processed materials, such as mercury and lead, from work methods and positions, as in such professions as tailoring and construction, and from the environment, as in fishing. He recommended methods for preventing diseases that result from these hazards. K. Marx cites Ramazzini’s book as a characteristic historical document of the early manufacturing period of capitalism and of the beginning of industrial pathology (see K. Marx in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23, p. 376).

Scientific societies on occupational hygiene have been named for Ramazzini in many countries, including Italy and the USA.


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