Prevalence of skin sensitization and dermatitis among epoxy-exposed workers in the wind turbine industry

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Background: A high prevalence of skin sensitization and dermatitis has been reported among workers exposed to epoxy components. Objectives: To estimate the risk of skin sensitization and dermatitis among workers exposed to epoxy components during production of wind turbine blades while using comprehensive safety measures. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 180 highly epoxy-exposed production workers and 41 nonexposed office workers was conducted at two wind turbine blade factories in Denmark. Participants underwent a skin examination, were tested with a tailored patch test panel including epoxy-containing products used at the factories, and answered a questionnaire. Results: Sixteen production workers (8·9%) were sensitized to an epoxy component compared with none of the office workers. Skin sensitization was more frequent within the first year of exposed employment. Strong selection bias by atopic status was indicated. Among nonatopic workers, the prevalence of dermatitis was higher among production workers (16·4%) than among office workers [6·5%, odds ratio (OR) 2·3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0·6–9·1] and higher among the sensitized workers (43·8%) than the nonsensitized workers (14·6%, OR 4·5, 95% CI 1·6–12·7). 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. Conclusions: Despite comprehensive skin protection, sensitization and dermatitis are prevalent among highly epoxy-exposed workers in the wind turbine industry in Denmark. Our findings document the need for intensified preventive efforts and emphasize the importance of tailored patch testing. What is already known about this topic? Epoxy components are well-known sensitizers of the skin. A high prevalence of skin sensitization and dermatitis has been reported among workers exposed to epoxy components. Comprehensive protective equipment is recommended when working with epoxy components. What does this study add? Despite comprehensive skin protection, skin sensitization and dermatitis are prevalent among epoxy-exposed workers. We found that 40% of workers sensitized to epoxy products had dermatitis. Only 75% of the sensitized workers were detected by the epoxy resin of the TRUE test ®, which emphasizes the importance of tailored testing.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftBritish Journal of Dermatology
Vol/bind187
Nummer6
Sider (fra-til)988-996
Antal sider9
ISSN0007-0963
DOI
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2022

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