Epidemiology of occupational contact dermatitis in a North Italian population

Andrea Lodi, Luca Livio Mancini, Marco Ambonati, Andrea Coassini, Giuseppe Ravanelli, Carlo Crosti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Occupational contact dermatitis (OCD) is a very important skin disease both for its high frequency and for its social and economic implications. The aim of our work is to evaluate the epidemiology of occupational contact dermatitis in a north-Italian population and the possibility of a correct etiological diagnosis using the patch test standard series of GIRDCA (Italian Group of Research on Contact Dermatitis). We patch tested 1,565 out-patients affected by dermatitis with standard series GIRDCA and with other specific professional haptens. The manifestations were suspected of being of occupational origin by a dermatologist on the basis of clinical and anamnestic data. Of all the recorded professions we have considered only the more numerically significant: food industry, building industry, textile industry, employees, cleaners, hospital personnel, hairdressers, housewives, mechanics and metallurgists. Sixty-nine percent of contact dermatitis was found in women, the hairdressers had the greatest number of patients in the younger group (68.7% in the 11-20 years age group) and the textile industry workers in older group (100% in the 41-50 years age group). A positive allergological anamnesis emerged in 32.3% of allergic contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis (10.6%) was more frequent than allergic contact dermatitis (8.4%). The hands are the most common localization (94.4%). The allergen with the highest frequency of positive reactions in p-phenylenediamine (25.3%). We discuss the frequency of positives to various groups of allergens in each profession and the principal means of contact. Because of the frequency of this type of occupational skin disease, we stress the importance of prevention. The standard series GIRDCA was found to be adequate for recognizing occupational contact dermatitis in most of our patients (74%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-132
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Dermatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Allergic dermatitis
  • Bar workers
  • Hairdressers
  • Irritant dermatitis
  • Textile workers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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