Skin sensitization and dermatitis appear to be common among workers exposed to high concentrations of epoxy, despite comprehensive skin protection, according to a study.
The cross-sectional study included 180 highly exposed production workers (mean age 34.5 years) and 41 nonexposed office workers (mean age 46.8 years) at two wind turbine blade factories in Denmark. All participants underwent a skin examination, were tested with a tailored patch test panel including epoxy-containing products used at the factories, and completed a questionnaire.
Skin sensitization to an epoxy component was detected in 16 production workers (8.9 percent) and none of the office workers (0 percent). Sensitization was more frequent among exposed workers within the first year vs second or later years of their employment (16.1 percent vs 4.1 percent).
Dermatitis was seen in 43.8 percent of sensitized workers as opposed to 14.6 percent of workers who were nonsensitized to epoxy. This corresponded to a more than fourfold increased likelihood of dermatitis among those sensitized to epoxy components (odds ratio [OR], 4.5, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.6–12.7).
Among participants without atopic dermatitis in their childhood, dermatitis prevalence was higher among production workers than among office workers (16.4 percent vs 6.5 percent; odds ratio [OR], 2.3, 95 percent CI, 0.6–9.1). The inverse was seen for those with atopic dermatitis in their childhood, such that the prevalence of dermatitis was lower among production vs office workers (OR, 0.1, 95 percent CI, 0.0–0.5).
Resins based on diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A and F were the most frequent sensitizers. One of the four workers sensitized to epoxy components used at the factories did not react to the epoxy resin of the TRUE test panel.
The findings highlight the need for intensified preventive efforts and emphasize the importance of tailored patch testing among workers highly exposed to epoxy and its components.
Visit our sponsors
Wise (formerly TransferWise) is the cheaper, easier way to send money abroad. It helps people move money quickly and easily between bank accounts in different countries. Convert 60+ currencies with ridiculously low fees - on average 7x cheaper than a bank. No hidden fees, no markup on the exchange rate, ever.