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Toxicol Ind Health. 2002 Aug;18(7):321-31.

The dermal toxicity of cement.

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School of Safety Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.


Cement and concrete are products used widely in the construction sector, with a traditional perception that any hazards that they have are limited to dermatitis in a small number of workers. In some cases, employers and builders do not think that concrete is a chemical. However, contact dermatitis is one of the most frequently reported health problems among construction workers. A review of the available literature suggests that cement has constituents that produce both irritant contact dermatitis and corrosive effects (from alkaline ingredients such as lime) and sensitization, leading to allergic contact dermatitis (from ingredients such as chromium). These findings indicate that cement and concrete should be treated as hazardous materials, and that workers handling such products should reduce exposure wherever possible. Initiatives to reduce the chromium content of cement have been shown to be successful in reducing the incidence of allergic dermatitis, although the irritant form remains.

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