Occupational skin hazards from synthetic plastics

A. Tosti, L. Guerra, C. Vincenzi, A. M. Peluso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epoxy and acrylic resins have numerous industrial applications but are also widely used in the household environment. These compounds are presently one of the most important sources of occupational contact dermatitis. Contact sensitization to epoxy resins is usually caused by the resin itself but hardeners or other additives, such as reactive diluents, plasticizers, fillers and pigments, can occasionally be responsible. Since completely cured epoxy resins are not sensitizers, epoxy resin sensitization is always due to the presence, in the final polymer, of uncured allergenic low molecular weight oligomers. Acrylates are now considered the fourth most common cause of contact sensitization due to resins. Unpolymerized monomers of acrylic compounds are known to be responsible for the contact allergy. Accelerators, inhibitors and catalysts, which are usually added to the acrylates to promote the polymerization process, can also sensitize. Both allergic and irritant contact dermatitis may be caused by exposure to epoxy or acrylic resins and their additives. Contact urticaria, allergic or irritant airborne contact dermatitis caused by volatile compounds, onychia and paronychia can also occur. From January of 1984 to May of 1992 we detected 39 cases of occupational allergic contact dermatitis to epoxy resin system substances and 11 cases of occupational contact sensitization to acrylic compounds. In our experience, the electronics industry as well as paint and glue related activities were the most important sources of epoxy sensitization. Dental materials and anaerobic sealants were found to be the most frequent acrylate sensitizers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-502
Number of pages10
JournalToxicology and Industrial Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Toxicology


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