Background: The North American Contact Dermatitis Group (NACDG) tests patients who have suspected allergic contact dermatitis with a broad series of screening allergens, and publishes periodic reports of its data.
Objective: To report the NACDG patch-test results from January 1, 2005, to December 31, 2006, and to compare results to pooled test data from the previous 10 years.
Methods: Standardized patch testing with 65 allergens was used at 13 centers in North America. Chi-square statistics were utilized for comparisons with previous NACDG data.
Results: NACDG patch-tested 4,454 patients; 12.3% (557) had an occupation-related skin condition, and 65.3% (2,907) had at least one allergic patch-test reaction. The 15 most frequently positive allergens were nickel sulfate (19.0%), Myroxilon pereirae (balsam of Peru, 11.9%), fragrance mix I (11.5%), quaternium-15 (10.3%), neomycin (10.0%), bacitracin (9.2%), formaldehyde (9.0%), cobalt chloride (8.4%), methyldibromoglutaronitrile/phenoxyethanol (5.8%), p-phenylenediamine (5.0%), potassium dichromate (4.8%), carba mix (3.9%), thiuram mix (3.9%), diazolidinylurea (3.7%), and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (3.4%). As compared to the 1994-2004 data, there were significant increases in rates of positivity to nickel, quaternium-15, potassium dichromate, lidocaine, and tea tree oil. Of patch-tested patients, 22.9% (1,019) had a relevant positive reaction to a supplementary allergen; 4.9% (219) had an occupationally relevant positive reaction to a supplementary allergen.
Conclusion: Nickel has been the most frequently positive allergen detected by the NACDG; rates significantly increased in the current study period and most reactions were clinically relevant. Other common allergens were topical antibiotics, preservatives, fragrance mix I and paraphenylenediamine. Testing with an expanded allergen series and supplementary allergens enhances detection of relevant positive allergens.