Official statistics contain very limited information on occupational skin diseases among self-employed farmers. In the National Register of Occupational Diseases, there is no special category for self-employed farmers, irrespective the separate insurance institution and fundamental differences in labour legislation. Statistics published by the Agricultural Social Insurance Institution lack medically relevant data. This study was aimed at filling this gap through creating detailed statistics of occupational dermatoses among private farmers. Cases of occupational dermatoses diagnosed from 1991 to 1999 were included in the analyses.
Results: the first case was recorded in 1992; altogether there were 101 cases by the end of 1999. There was a clear increase in the number of diagnosed cases - from 0 in 1991 to 27 cases in 1999. Allergic contact dermatitis was the most common diagnosis (86%). The health impairment ranged from 2 to 36% (median 20%). The most frequently identified causes for the diseases were plant dusts and animal allergens, followed by metals, pesticides, and rubber chemicals. Despite the rapid increase in the numbers of diagnosed cases, there is evidence that only a small percentage of cases is detected nowadays. The reasons for this are lack of prophylactic health checks for self-employed farmers, their difficult access to occupational safety and health services, and finally the lack of knowledge on this topic both among farmers and doctors in rural areas.
Key words: self-employed farmers, occupational skin diseases, occupational dermatoses, statistical analysis, diagnoses, causative agents, detection.
© Radoslaw Spiewak
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