Occupational skin diseases among farmers

Source: Spiewak R. Occupational skin diseases among farmers. In: Zagorski J (Ed). Occupational and Para-occupational Diseases in Agriculture. Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin 2000, 142-152


Occupational dermatoses among farmers constitute a serious and underestimated problem. According to worldwide statistics, skin diseases amount to 9 - 34% of all occupational diseases, which places them on 1 -3 rank on the list of most frequent cases of the lost working ability. Their frequency is comparable only to occupational hearing loss and bone-and-joint diseases. In the USA, the incidence of work-related skin diseases is estimated at 2.8 cases/1000 farmers/year, whereas in Finland this ratio amounts to 0.4/1000/year. In contrast to this, in 1998 only 26 cases were acknowledged in whole Poland, which makes 0.018 cases/1000/year. These data suggest insufficient detection of the cases in Poland.

This monographic chapter outlines diagnostic procedures for diagnosing and certifying farmers' occupational skin diseases introduced in the Department of Occupational Dermatology of the Institute of Agricultural Medicine in Lublin, Poland. It also summarises author's experience with first 32 farmers undergoing the procedure. By November 1999, occupational dermatoses were certified in 10 persons of this group. All certified cases were subsequently acknowledged by the State Sanitary Authority. This confirms the effectiveness of the introduced procedures. The author also discusses common misunderstandings about occupational dermatoses by responsible authorities and doctors.

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© Radoslaw Spiewak

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