Dermatological Conditions

James E. Lessenger

Key words: predisposing factors, patch testing, wood's light, urticarian, dermatitis

Skin problems in worldwide agricultural workers are very common. Among California grape and tomato harvesters, pustular eruptions such as acne and folliculitis were present in 30% of studied workers. Irritant or allergic contact dermatitis was present in 2%. In Iowa, 9.6% of male farmers and 14.4% of wives of farmers reported dermatitis during the previous 12-month period. In Washington State, researchers studied 7445 claims for occupational skin disorders filed over a 5-year period. Medical bills totaled $1.22 million, and lost time payments were $1.23 million. The highest rates of occupational skin disorder claims were seen in agriculture with 2.8 claims per 10,000 full-time equivalent employee years. Most of these skin disorders were due to chemical and vegetation exposures (1-4).

Among northern Ecuadorian potato farm workers, high rates of dermatitis and pigmentation disorders were attributable to the use of pesticides and fungicides. Among California farm workers, skin disease rates were found in tomato workers (6.2%), citrus (10.8%), and vineyard workers (21.0%). Factors found to contribute to dermatitis in farm workers included the specific type of crop cultivated, specific job activity, use of personal protective measures, field and home sanitation, environmental conditions of heat and humidity, personal hygiene, allergic history (including atopy), and ethnicity. several pesticides were shown to cause irritant and allergic contact dermatitis. Causes were found to include pesticides, naturally occurring plant substances, heat, sunlight and humidity, atopy, and infectious fungal and bacterial agents (5,6).

In Maryland, a study of watermen, people who harvest crabs, oysters and fish, demonstrated elevated rates of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and actinic keratoses (7).

0 0

Post a comment