Occupational Diseases, A Guide to Their Recognition, Revised Edition. Key MM, Henschel AF, Butler J, Ligs RN, Tabershaw IR, eds., Cincinnati, OH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1977 Jun; :78-100
Occupational diseases of the skin are discussed. These occur primarily because the skin is a large area to protect completely and the industrial environment is full of chemical, mechanical, physical, biological, or photoreactive products which can harm the skin surface. Most cases of occupational dermatitis are caused by primary irritant chemicals which act directly on the skin at the contact site. Lipid solvents remove the surface film. Metallic salts precipitate skin protein. Oxidizing and reducing agents injure keratin and epidermal cells. Twenty percent of the occupational contact dermatitis cases are caused by allergenic materials. Basic criteria which must be met before rendering a diagnosis of occupational dermatosis are discussed. There are various morphologic varieties of occupational dermatoses including acute contact eczematous dermatitis; chronic eczematous dermatitis; folliculitis and acneform dermatoses; neoplastic types; pigmentary disturbances; granulomatous dermatoses; ulcerative lesions; alopecia; acro osteolysis; sclerodermoid changes; discolorations of hair, skin or nails; and porphyria cutanea tarda. Various occupations where workers may be subject to occupational dermatitis include agricultural workers, animal husbandry workers, animal products workers, painters, athletes, woodworkers, chemical industry workers, metal workers, textile workers, construction workers, food processing workers, dentists, health care personnel, electrical workers, furniture workers, farmers, foundry workers, glass workers, gardeners, hairdressers, iron workers, machinists, oil refinery workers, photographers, plumbers, printers, rubber workers, shipyard workers, solderers, veterinarians, and welders.