Objectives: This study evaluated the course of dermatitis symptoms throughout puberty taking into account occupational exposures in a population-based study.
Methods: Participants enrolled in the ISAAC-II (International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood) study in Munich and Dresden in 1995 and 1996 were sent a postal questionnaire in 2002 (age at follow-up 16 to 18 years). The questionnaire included items on atopic diseases, jobs, including holiday jobs and vocational training, and potential confounders. The most recent of the adolescents' jobs held for at least 8 hours a week, and for at least 1 month, were coded according to the ISCO-88 system.
Results: Overall, data of 3785 adolescents were included in the analyses. The incidence of dermatitis symptoms during puberty among those without such symptoms at baseline was 7%. Altogether 31% of the participants reported an employment history. Those already employed were more likely to report a new onset of dermatitis symptoms. Jobs associated with a new onset of symptoms were work in the health care sector, vocational training in bakeries, and cleaning. The first 9 months of exposure were particularly relevant for new cases of dermatitis symptoms (odds ratio 3.7, 95% confidence interval 1.5-9.6).
Conclusions: Early occupational exposure is associated with the development of symptoms of dermatitis. The types of skin alterations need to be assessed in the next stage of the study.