Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1994;20(3):206-212    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1407

Prevalence of hand dermatoses among Finnish farmers.

by Susitaival P, Husman L, Horsmanheimo M, Notkola V, Husman K

OBJECTIVES The goal of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors of hand dermatosis among farmers.

METHODS A questionnaire survey was carried out in a geographically defined sample of the Finnish farming population between the ages of 18 and 64 years (N = 10,847).

RESULTS The one-year prevalence of self-reported hand and forearm dermatoses was 16% for the women and 7% for the men. These figures were similar to the prevalence of hand eczema in two large Scandinavian questionnaire surveys. The highest one-year prevalence of hand dermatoses was found for women on farms with more than nine dairy cows (20%). Atopy (both the personal history of atopic dermatitis and respiratory atopy), female gender, and, among the women, also age under 35 years were the most important risk factors for the occurrence of hand dermatosis. Work-related risk factors were handling disinfectants daily, handling silage preservatives, milking cows, and machine servicing.

CONCLUSIONS Occupational risk factors for hand dermatoses were found, especially for dairy farming. The results may be useful for the prevention of hand dermatoses in farming since they direct attention to related occupational hazards, and they may also aid vocational guidance for the atopic population. In order to lower the prevalence of hand dermatoses in dairy farming, both preventive and protective measures should become everyday practice in farming work.