In 1988, the National Health Interview Survey, a continuous national household survey of the non-institutionalized, civilian population, included a supplement on occupational health, including questions on dermatitis. Interviews were completed on 30,074 adults who had worked in the last 12 months. From the survey, US estimates were made. An estimated 11.8%, or 14,960,000 working persons reported having dermatitis in the last 12 months, 10.9% of the men and 12.9% of the women. The most common body parts mentioned were the hands, arms, and head, neck or face. For 14% the rash lasted less than a week but 23% reported having a rash for a year. 5% of the persons with dermatitis reported that they had missed a day or more of work and 2.3% reported that the dermatitis had caused them to stop work, change jobs, or make major changes in their work activities. 22.6% reported that the dermatitis was caused by exposure to a chemical or substance, for a 12 month prevalence of 2.8%. 2,301,000 or 15.4% of the persons with dermatitis reported that it was caused by an exposure at work. This is a rate of 170 cases per 10,000 persons in the working population. This compares with a rate of 1.2/10,000 workers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1994 and rates of from 1.2 to 8.4/10,000 from various state workers compensation programs. Interestingly, fewer than a quarter of the persons claiming work-related dermatitis in our study reported it to their employer and fewer than 2% filed a workers compensation claim, although 3.8% of the persons with work-related dermatitis had stopped work or changed jobs and 4.9% had made a major change in their work activity because of the skin condition. This survey indicates a rate of occupational dermatitis much higher than previously reported.