To be presented at the EAACI 2004: XXIII Congress of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Amsterdam, 12-16 June 2004

Causes of occupational allergic contact dermatitis among farmers

R Spiewak
Instytut Medycyny Wsi, Occupational Biohazards, Lublin, Poland

Background: Little is known about occupational contact dermatitis among farmers. In most countries, no statistics are available on occupational skin diseases in this group. Such information is, however, necessary for preventive actions. Therefore, this study was undertaken aimed at identifying causes of invalidating occupational allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) among Polish farmers.

Methods: Compensation records of all cases compensated by the Agricultural Social Insurance Institution were analysed for causative factors.

Results: Between 1992 - 1999, there were 87 compensated cases of occupational ACD (52 women and 35 men, aged 36 - 71 years). The median impairment due to the skin disease was 20% (range 5 - 36%). Allergens identified as causative factors are listed in Table 1 and Table 2.

Conclusion: Plant dusts and animal allergens are most frequent causes of occupational allergic contact dermatitis in farmers. Another important allergens are metals, pesticides and rubber chemicals.

Table 1. Animal and plant allergens causing occupational ACD in farmers.
Causative agents Frequency
Dusts of cultivated plants 38%
- of which hay dust 28%
Farm animalsí allergens 36%
- of which cow allergens27%
Green parts of plants (leaves)6%
Storage mites5%
Flours3%

Table 2. Chemicals causing occupational ACD in farmers.
Causative agentsFrequency
Metals29%
- of which chromium19%
Pesticides 18%
- of which malathion7%
Rubber chemicals 15%
- of which thiuram7%
Fertilisers5%
Disinfectants2%

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