Risk factors for work-related dermatoses in young farmers

Radoslaw Spiewak

Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland.

Source: Spiewak R. Risk factors for work-related dermatoses in young farmers. Am J Contact Dermat 2003; 14 (2): 113.

A group of 304 random students of 11 agricultural schools consented to participate in the study on prevalence and risk factors for farm work-related skin diseases (participation rate 98%).

Methods (approved by the ethical committee) comprised standardized questionnaire, skin prick tests and patch tests with common and farm allergens, total IgE and Phadiatop. Obtained data (144 variables) were tested statistically as possible risk factors for work-related dermatoses. For each variable, predictive values were calculated, as well as the significance level for differences between students with work-related dermatoses and their symptom-free classmates (Fisher's exact chi-square test).

Results: work-related dermatoses were identified in 18 students (5.9%): dermatitis in 10, urticaria in 4, and both dermatitis and urticaria in remaining 4. The most important risk factor was history of atopic dermatitis, with positive predictive value (PPV)=0.286, negative predictive value (NPV)=0.952, p=0.006. This was followed by history of cosmetics intolerance (PPV=0.194, NPV=0.956, p=0.005), ACD (PPV=0.182, NPV=0.956, p=0.007), metal and detergent intolerance, and respiratory allergy. Positive allergy test results did not prove to be risk factors.

Conclusion: Identified risk factors deserve special attention during prophylactic health checks at farming schools.

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