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Document ID (ISN)59353
CIS number 93-147
ISSN - Serial title 0096-1736 - Journal of Occupational Medicine
Year 1991
Convention or series no.
Author(s) Sinks T., O'Malley M., Hartle R., Hales T.R., Ruhe R.
Title An epidemic of dermatitis at a large construction site
Bibliographic information Apr. 1991, Vol.33, No.4, p.462-467. 12 ref.
Abstract In 1986, an epidemic of dermatitis occurred among more than 5,600 construction site workers in the United States. To identify its cause, the medical facility nurses' log was used to characterise the outbreak by person, place, and time. A strong association was found between dermatitis and the handling of fire-retardant lumber and plywood. Carpenters experienced the greatest risk. Those working only with fire-retardant lumber had a rate of dermatitis four times that of carpenters working exclusively with untreated wood. Carpenters who occasionally worked with fire-retardant lumber and plywood were at moderate risk. Although laboratory tests showed that phosphate compounds could be leached with water from the fire-retardant wood, an extract of these phosphates did not irritate the skin of laboratory animals. The specific chemical agent in the fire-retardant lumber which caused the epidemic was not identified. In view of the observed association, construction workers should handle this material with caution, especially in high temperatures and humidity.
Descriptors (primary) plywood; fire retardant coatings; irritants; woodworking industry; skin diseases; dermatitis; flame retardants; wood products
Descriptors (secondary) air temperature; USA; case study; phosphates; construction work; construction industry; toxicity evaluation; construction sites
Document type D - Periodical articles
Country / State or ProvinceUSA
Subject(s) Construction industry
Broad subject area(s) Occupational medicine, epidemiology
Browse category(ies) Skin diseases
Woodworking industry
Lumber and the woodworking industry
Fires