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Br J Dermatol. 2015 Dec;173(6):1411-9. doi: 10.1111/bjd.14151. Epub 2015 Nov 7.

Prevalence of fragrance contact allergy in the general population of five European countries: a cross-sectional study.

Author information

1
Department of Social Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Dermatology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Thibautstraße 3, 69115, Heidelberg, Germany.
2
Department of Occupational and Environmental Dermatology, University Hospital Malmö, S-20502, Malmö, Sweden.
3
Department of Dermatology, Azienda Ospedaliera Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo, Centro Studi GISED - FROM Presidio Ospedaliero Matteo Rota, Via Garibaldi 13/15, 24122, Bergamo, Italy.
4
Occupational and Environmental, Dermatology Unit, State University Hospital, P.O. Box 30.001, NL-9700 RB, Groningen, the Netherlands.
5
Klinik für Dermatologie und dermatologische Allergologie, Klinikum der FSU Jena, Erfurter Str. 35, D-07740, Jena, Germany.
6
Clinica de Dermatologia, Hospital da Universidade Praceta Motal Pinto, Rua Infanta D.Maria, n 30-A-3D, P-3000-075, Coimbra, Portugal.
7
Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Malmö, S-20502, Malmö, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Contact allergy to fragrances is assessed mostly in clinical populations of patients. Studies in the general population are scarce and vary in their methodology across countries.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the prevalence of fragrance contact allergy in the European general population and to assess the clinical relevance of positive patch test reactions to different fragrances.

METHODS:

In five European countries (Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden) a random sample from the general population aged 18-74 years was drawn. In total, 12 377 subjects were interviewed in this cross-sectional study and a random sample (n = 3119) was patch tested using the TRUE Test and Finn Chamber techniques. Patch test procedures were harmonized by mandatory training before the study and monitoring during the study.

RESULTS:

The highest prevalence for contact allergy of 2·6% [95% confidence interval (CI) 2·1-3·2] was found for fragrance mix (FM) I in petrolatum, with a high content of atranol and chloratranol, followed by 1·9% (95% CI 1·5-2·4) for FM II in petrolatum. The conservatively estimated prevalence of fragrance contact allergy was 1·9% (95% CI 1·5-2·5). This is defined as the existence of a positive patch test to FM I or FM II; any of their individual materials; Myroxylon pereirae; sesquiterpene lactones or 3- and 4-hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde that show clinical relevance, defined conservatively as lifetime avoidance of scented products and an itchy skin rash lasting > 3 days in a lifetime. Using the reported lifetime prevalence of any contact dermatitis instead of the lifetime prevalence of any itchy skin rash, the prevalence is 0·8% (95% CI 0·5-1·2). The prevalence rates of contact allergy to fragrances in women are about twice those in men.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study helps to identify targets for prevention of fragrance allergy.

PMID:
26332456
DOI:
10.1111/bjd.14151
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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