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Allergy Proc. 1994 May-Jun;15(3):163-8.

Occupational allergies in Finland in 1981-91.

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  • 1Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland.


In 1981-91 in Finland, the number of cases with occupational asthma increased from 156 to 352 (125%), and with occupational rhinitis from 61 to 318 (421%), while the number of all cases of occupational diseases increased from 5060 to 8828. A total of 755 new patients with occupational allergic respiratory diseases and 558 with occupational allergic skin diseases were reported in 1991. This means that occupational allergies represent 15% of all cases of occupational diseases in Finland. The mean annual incidence of occupational respiratory diseases was 31 per 100,000 workers, 374 per 100,000 bakery workers, and 241 per 100,000 farmers. These data emphasize the important role of clinical allergy in the diagnosis of occupational disease during the time when some previously common occupational diseases such as toxic reactions to mercury and lead have become uncommon. Improved diagnosis of occupational allergic diseases would result in an improved control of the environment and reduction of diseases. Of particular interest is the establishment of the importance of occupational rhinitis, an issue that has been underemphasized as an occupational health problem in many countries.

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