Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1986;12(1):61-65    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2182

Prevalence of probable kerosene dermatoses among ball-bearing factory workers.

by Jee SH, Wang JD, Sun CC, Chao YF

The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence rate of dermatoses among workers in a ball-bearing factory and its possible association with their exposure to kerosene. Two groups of female workers participated in the study. The first group included 79 persons with major kerosene exposure during work, while the second, a reference group, was composed of 263 zipper-manufacturing workers with a similar age distribution, educational background, and income. Dermatologic examinations were used to determine the prevalence rate of hand dermatoses (erythema, scaling, and eczema). In the exposed group 51 persons (65%) had erythema with or without desquamation over the interdigital spaces, 12 persons (15%) had eczematous lesions, 3 persons (4%) had defatting dermatitis, and only 13 persons (16%) were apparently asymptomatic. In the reference group only one person had hand eczema (less than 1%). The difference in the occurrence of dermatoses between the two groups was significant according to the Mantel-Haenszel summary chi-square test. Patch tests on five workers with eczematous lesions revealed one to be sensitive to mercury. The findings indicate that kerosene is a skin irritant. Antirust oil used on the ball-bearings may also contribute to the irritant effect.