Heavy metals and the skin: sensitization patterns in Lithuanian metalworkers


Background: Metalworkers are exposed to many sensitizing and irritant substances. There are no published data on contact allergy in this population in the Baltic countries. Objective: To detect skin symptoms related to occupational exposure and to describe the reactivity pattern to the European baseline series in workers from two metal plants in Lithuania.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study 185 metalworkers (154 production workers and 31 office staff) filled an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Patch testing was performed in 135 metalworkers and office staff, as a control group.

Results: Metalworkers younger than 40 years statistically significantly more often complained of skin symptoms especially on hands and face than older ones. Physician-diagnosed skin diseases were reported in 1.7% of cases. Metalworkers, working <20 years in the factory, more often had skin symptoms. Contact with chemicals at the workplace was suspected as main factors provoking skin symptoms. Metalworkers were sensitized mainly to cobalt chloride, and nickel was the most prevalent allergen among the office staff. Conclusion: Younger metalworkers more often had skin symptoms suspected of being work-related compared to older ones. Sensitization to cobalt was more prevalent in the metalworkers than in controls. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Authors: Linauskiene Kotryna, Isaksson Marléne, Malinauskiene Laura
; Full Source: Contact dermatitis 2020 Jul 30. doi: 10.1111/cod.13681.