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Contact Dermatitis. 2005 Feb;52(2):102-7.

Skin symptoms in the seafood-processing industry in north Norway.

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Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital North Norway, Tromsø.


A survey of occupational skin problems, based on a questionnaire, was carried out among 883 workers in different types of seafood-processing industries in northern Norway. The prevalence of dry skin, itching, rash/eczema, chapped skin and chronic sores was significantly higher among production workers (55.6%) in the white fish-, shrimp- and salmon-processing industries, compared to administrative workers in the same industries (27.5%). Among production workers, there was a significantly higher prevalence of skin symptoms among females (60.2%) compared to males (50.1%). A strong sex division of work tasks rather than sex itself may explain this. There was no sex difference among administrative workers. Several risk factors for skin symptoms to occur are indicated. The workers are exposed to raw materials and a mixture of water and juice from the fish or shrimp, salt, detergents and disinfectants. Gloves may also cause skin problems. Major risk factors believed to cause skin symptoms were contact with raw materials, fish juice, water and gloves. The results also indicate that skin symptoms are of moderate severity and seldom interfere with working capacity.

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