[Occupational dermatoses in farmers caused by biological factors.]
Skin diseases constitute 13.4% of all acknowledged occupational diseases in agriculture in Poland and 12.9% in Germany. The most frequently acknowledged occupational skin disease is contact dermatitis. Other forms of non-infectious occupational dermatoses in farmers can be contact urticaria, protein dermatitis, erythema-multiforme-like eruption, phototoxic and photoallergic dermatitis. The most frequently recognised factors causing contact dermatitis in farmers are chemicals, like petrol, diesel fuel, detergents, disinfectants, and fertilisers.
The biological (non-infectious) factors include organic dusts, animal dander, manure, wood and resins, insects and mites, volatile plant fractions, mould spores and other products of plant and animal origin. Their role in occupational pathology seems underestimated. The causative role of biological factors in a given case is often very difficult to prove, because of their diversity and instability. The complexity of farmers work as compared to industry and the absence of occupational safety supervision (lack of reliable exposure data) in private farms in Poland cause major problems during the process of diagnosing a work-related skin disease.
In the present work experiences collected at the Dermatology Unit of the Institute of Agricultural Medicine with decision-making during assessing contact dermatitis suspected of being caused by biological factors in farmers will be presented.
KEY WORDS: occupational skin diseases, agriculture, farmers, causes, biological factors.
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