Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 54  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 137-141

Occupational allergic contact dermatitis among construction workers in India

Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, NRS Medical College and Hospital, 138 AJC Bose Road, Kolkata - 700014, India

Correspondence Address:
Nilendu Sarma
P N Colony, Sapuipara, Bally, Howrah, WB - 711 227
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.53192

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Background: Allergic contact dermatitis is one of the important occupational hazards in construction workers and it often leads to poor quality of life of the workers with substantial financial loss. However, this is often a neglected entity. There are no past studies on the construction workers in Indian subcontinent. Objective: This pilot study has been done to assess the allergological profile among the workers engaged in construction of roads and bridges. Materials and Methods: The study was conducted among the workers working on construction of a bridge, flyover, and roads in West Bengal, India. Sixteen workers were selected on clinical suspicion. Ten were selected randomly and patch tested with Indian standard battery of patch test allergens. Analysis of reactions and relevance of positive test was assessed as per standard guidelines. Results: All the workers were men. Average age of workers was 24.8 years (range, 19-34 years). Dermatitis affected exposed parts in 93.75% and covered areas in 62.5%. Total positive test was 24 and relevant 11. Most common allergens were chromate (relevant allergy/RA: in 60% of patch tested workers), epoxy resin (RA: 30%), cobalt (RA: 20%), nickel (RA: 20%), thiuram mixture (RA: 10%) and black rubber mix (RA: 10%). Two cases (20%) had irritant contact dermatitis. Conclusion: The result indicated that chromate is the most frequent allergen among construction workers in this part of India. High frequency of involvement of the covered areas as well as the exposed areas highlighted the fact that the allergens had access to most body parts of the workers.

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