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Contact Dermatitis. 2001 Jun;44(6):325-30.

Dermatitis in a particleboard manufacturing facility.

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  • 1Gage Occupational and Environmental Health Unit, St Michael's Hospital,and University of Toronto, Canada.


Exposure to wood dust and other chemicals used in particleboard manufacture may cause contact dermatitis. To assess the prevalence and nature of skin complaints in the refining and drying department of a particleboard manufacturing facility following introduction of a new process, workers were assessed by a physician, using a standardized questionnaire concerning symptoms, past and family history, workplace exposures, and use of protective equipment. Cutaneous examination and patch testing were then performed. Questionnaire results showed that workers complained of rash, nasal and eye irritation, as well as cough and bothersome odours. Cutaneous examination identified a heterogeneity of skin problems, with dermatitis being mainly irritant rather than allergic. Quaternium-15 (Dowicil 200) was the only allergen to which more than 1 individual reacted. Aside from the odours, exposure to wood dust could account for the other reported symptoms. Allergic reactions on patch testing were few and did not explain the dermatitis; most skin reactions were irritant. Recommendations to the company included improved dust control, through ventilation and personal hygiene measures, as well as protective clothing. The investigation highlights how the introduction of a new process may focus attention on health complaints that have been present for some time before.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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