Self-reported hand eczema among dental workers in Japan - a cross-sectional study

Contact Dermatitis. 2016 Oct;75(4):230-9. doi: 10.1111/cod.12656. Epub 2016 Aug 15.


Background: Dental workers are considered to have a high risk of developing occupational hand eczema.

Objectives: To estimate the prevalence of work-related hand eczema and associated risk factors in dental workers in Japan.

Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was sent by mail to all dental clinics of Kumamoto City, Japan. In addition, patch testing with 24 dentistry-related allergens was offered.

Results: In total, 46.4% of dental workers (n = 528: response 31.4%, based on 97 clinics) reported a lifetime history of chronic hand eczema. The 1-year prevalence was 36.2%. According to logistic regression analysis, the most important risk factors for the 1-year prevalence were a personal history of atopic dermatitis [odds ratio (OR) 4.7, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.2-8.8], asthma and/or allergic rhinitis (OR 2.0, 95%CI: 1.3-3.0), dry skin (OR 1.7, 95%CI: 1.1-2.7), shorter duration of work (OR 2.0, 95%CI: 1.2-3.5 for up to 10 years versus >20 years), and washing hands >10 times per day (OR 1.6, 95%CI: 1.0-2.5). Fifty-four workers were patch tested. Rubber chemicals and acrylates were the most frequent occupationally relevant contact allergens.

Conclusions: Dental workers in Japan have a high prevalence of hand eczema. Health education to prevent hand eczema and more frequent patch testing are needed.

Keywords: alcohol-based hand rub disinfectant; atopic dermatitis; dental workers; epidemiology; hand eczema; hand washing; occupational contact dermatitis; wet work.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Allergens / adverse effects
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Auxiliaries / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dentists / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / diagnosis
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / epidemiology*
  • Eczema / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Hand Dermatoses / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Methacrylates / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Patch Tests
  • Phenylenediamines / adverse effects
  • Prevalence
  • Self Report
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thiram / adverse effects
  • Young Adult


  • Allergens
  • Methacrylates
  • Phenylenediamines
  • Thiram