Occupational Dermatoses Caused by Man-Made Mineral Fibers

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Background:Man-made mineral fibers (MMMFs) are a group of synthetic, inorganic, and amorphous fibers that primarily consist of glass, rock, slag, or refractory ceramic fibers. The present study examined the frequency and type of dermatoses caused by MMMFs diagnosed at the Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland, and in the entire country during 1975 to 1991 and compiled in the Finnish Register of Occupational Diseases.Results:Mineral fibers caused skin diseases in 11 branches of industry and 58 different occupations. According to the register, MMMFs were the cause of 383 dermatoses, corresponding to 1.7% of the reported 23,172 occupational dermatoses. Eighty-five percent (326) of the recorded dermatoses were cases of irritant (71%) and allergic (14%) contact dermatitis. Twelve (3%) were different dermatoses, ie, skin infections, urticaria, pruritus, and acne; 45 (12%) cases were recorded as undefined dermatitis. In the statistics from the Institute, MMMFs were the cause of dermatitis in 35 cases (1.8%). There were three cases of contact allergy caused by continuous fiber glass, two caused by epoxy resin, and one caused by chrome compound. In mineral wool production, three patients had contracted contact allergy to phenolformaldehyde urea resin.Conclusions:MMMFs mainly cause irritant dermatitis. Cases of allergic contact dermatoses caused by epoxy resin, chrome compound, and phenol formaldehyde urea resin were detected.

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