Cement-Induced Chromate Occupational Allergic Contact Dermatitis

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Hexavalent chromium in cement is a common cause of occupational allergic contact dermatitis (OACD).


Analysis of patch test data during 1999 to 2013 was done. Patients with cement-induced chromate OACD filled the Dermatology Life Quality Index, graded 1 to 5.


Of 4846 consecutive patients who were patch tested, 146 (3%) were chromate-sensitive. Of 46 (31.5%) who presented with chromate OACD, 27 (59%) had cement-induced chromate OACD. The proportion of chromate-sensitive patients with clinically relevant cement exposure increased from 7.7% in 2002 to 2004 to 28.7% in 2011 to 2013 (P = 0.04). The median age of presentation was younger than for other chromate-sensitive patients (32 vs 42 years). Hand eczema (88.9%) was the most frequent clinical presentation. Of the 27 with cement-induced chromate OACD, 21 (77.8%) had ongoing dermatitis at the time of the review. Although 14/27 (51.9%) changed their occupation to avoid exposure to cement, symptoms persisted in 9/14 (64.3%). Prolonged exposure to cement before development of symptoms was associated with chronicity. All the symptomatic patients experienced at least a moderate effect on their quality of life (grade 3 or higher on the Dermatology Life Quality Index).


We recommend the adoption of the European legislation in Israel, to reduce the prevalence of chromate OACD from cement.

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