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Title: Occupational allergic contact dermatitis in Singapore
Authors: Koh, D. 
Leow, Y.H.
Goh, C.L.
Keywords: Contact allergy
Industrial dermatitis
Issue Date: 10-Apr-2001
Citation: Koh, D., Leow, Y.H., Goh, C.L. (2001-04-10). Occupational allergic contact dermatitis in Singapore. Science of the Total Environment 270 (1-3) : 97-101. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Singapore has a resident population of 3000000 and a workforce of 1780000. Most are employed in manufacturing, services and commerce (245000). From 1996 to 1998, 3472 cases were notified to the Ministry of Manpower and confirmed as occupational diseases. Noise-induced hearing loss accounted for 82% of cases, while only 11% of cases were industrial dermatitis. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis was not common, comprising approximately one third of the 369 cases of industrial dermatitis that were notified. However, we believe that the majority of cases are not notified to the authorities. The main occupational contact allergens were chromates, nickel, rubber chemicals, cutting fluids and resins. Most affected workers were from the construction, electronics and metalworking industries. Case series of occupational dermatoses among electronics and metal workers have been published. Of the cases of occupational dermatoses among electronics workers seen at a tertiary dermatological centre, 41% of 149 had allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). The commonest allergens were nickel, resins and rubber chemicals. In another case series of 252 metalworkers seen at the same dermatological centre, 23% suffered from ACD. The common allergens were metals and cutting fluids. Besides the common causes of ACD, unusual allergens have also been described. One example is ACD to grasses, which is seen mainly among military personnel. Population studies have been conducted in several industries. A survey of 2567 electronics workers revealed a 2% point prevalence of ACD. Of the occupationally relevant cases, 46 were nickel sensitive, 7 reacted to colophony, and 1 case to epoxy resin. A study of 272 prefabrication construction workers showed a 14% prevalence rate of occupational dermatitis. Of the 38 cases, 42% were ACD to chromates and rubber chemicals. Occupational ACD in Singapore is not as uncommon as the reported statistics suggest. Population-based reports, which overcome the problem of under-notification, show that the prevalence is variable in different industries. Copyright © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
Source Title: Science of the Total Environment
ISSN: 00489697
DOI: 10.1016/S0048-9697(00)00787-7
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