Occupational contact allergy of construction workers in Greece: Trends during 2009-2018

Contact Dermatitis. 2022 Jan;86(1):34-39. doi: 10.1111/cod.13970. Epub 2021 Sep 27.


Background: Recent trends in the sensitization of construction workers show a decrease in potassium dichromate and an increase in epoxy resin sensitization.

Objectives: To present the trends of occupational contact allergy of construction workers in Greece from 2009 to 2018.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the files of patients with eczema patch tested in our Contact Dermatitis Clinic who were construction workers.

Results: A total of 191 construction workers initially reported contact dermatitis. Of these, 138 had occupation-relevant allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) or irritant contact dermatitis (ICD). All patients were men. After being patch tested, 98 (71.0%) were diagnosed with ACD and 40 with ICD. Median duration of occupation till onset of ACD was 2 years (interquartile range [IQR] 0.8-7). The hands were the most common location for ACD (73.5%), followed by the trunk (39.8%), the legs (38.8%), and the face (11.2%). Of the patients, 74.6% had lesions affecting multiple body sites. Potassium dichromate (67%) was the most frequent allergen, followed by thiuram mix (37.4%) and cobalt chloride (31.8%). Sensitization to epoxy resins was lower (12.1%).

Conclusion: The sensitization pattern of Greek construction workers does not follow the trends in Central or Northern Europe, rather sharing attributes with less industrialized countries.

Keywords: allergic contact dermatitis; cobalt chloride; construction workers; epoxy resin; patch test; potassium dichromate; sensitization; thiuram mix.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Construction Industry
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / diagnosis*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Irritant / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / diagnosis*
  • Greece
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Patch Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies