Occupational Contact Dermatitis: Workers' Compensation Patch Test Results of Portland, Oregon, 2005-2014

Garrett Coman, Chris Zinsmeister, Patricia Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background Workers are exposed to potential irritants and allergens with constant introduction of new industrial chemicals in the workplace. Objective Characterize the final diagnoses, demographics, occupations, exposures, clinical presentations, patch test results, dermatologic histories, and risk factors of workers evaluated for suspected work-related allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). Methods A retrospective chart review of 310 workers' compensation independent medical examinations evaluated for suspected work-related ACD was performed. Workers were seen in a community dermatology clinic in Portland, Oregon, from 2005 to 2014. Evaluation included history, physical examination, patch testing, and further diagnostic workup when indicated. Results Hand dermatitis was the most common presentation (n = 148, 47.7%). Prevalent occupations included health care workers (n = 51, 16.5%), custodial staff (n = 41, 13.2%), and machinists (n = 36, 11.6%). Allergic contact dermatitis (47.5%) was more common than irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) (38.9%) in those diagnosed as having occupational skin disease (n = 185). The highest-frequency work-related allergens were thiuram mix (21 of 88, 23.9%), carba mix (20 of 88, 22.7%), potassium dichromate (9 of 88, 10.2%), and epoxy resin (9 of 88, 10.2%). Conclusions Allergic contact dermatitis and ICD are common occupational skin disorders. In this population of workers' compensation referrals, ACD was more common, with 73.3% of those cases work related, compared with 86.7% of ICD. Blue collar work and wet work were risk factors for the development of ACD and ICD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-283
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Dermatology


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