Occupational allergic contact dermatitis to cobalt octoate included as an accelerator in a polyester resin

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A 46-year-old woman, who worked as a laminator of spa baths, presented with hand dermatitis, which was suspected to be related to her occupation. Patch testing revealed strong reactions to both cobalt chloride and a polyester resin that the patient had been using at her workplace. She also reacted to latex and had been wearing cotton gloves underneath rubber gloves at work. It was later discovered that cobalt octoate (synonym: cobalt-2-ethylhexanoate), a compound not listed on the manufacturer's material safety data sheet, was included as an accelerator in the polyester resin. She was then tested to cobalt octoate, which was also strongly positive. Her successful treatment included protection of her hands at work with cotton lined PVC gloves. This case highlights the role of cobalt salts as sensitizers and their presence as accelerators used in polyester resins, and the importance of recognizing concomitant latex allergy that may complicate occupational dermatitis. It also illustrates the difficulties in relying on material safety data sheets to identify all possible allergens.

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