oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - Skin allergies in the construction industry : allergies in the workplace

Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



Although allergies cause only about 15% of occupational diseases, in the building and construction industry they constitute the most common occupational diseases - in particular, allergic contact dermatitis. This article explores three agents found on a battery of commercial allergens commonly used for standard patch tests to which a self-employed carpenter was found positive: potassium dichromate, paraphenylenediamine (PPD) and para tertiary butylphenol formaldehyde resin (PTBP-F-R). It explores the carpenter's likely exposures to these agents in the construction industry and uses them as examples to illustrate the tenets of occupational medicine and the approach to be taken even when specific causative agents cannot be identified. Specifically, the article looks at the hierarchy of controls and its appropriate application, from the most effective - elimination and substitution - to the least effective - the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). The use of PPE results in a reduction in sensitisation rates. However, the use of inappropriate PPE could possibly worsen the current problem or cause other sensitisations.

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