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Occupational allergic contact dermatitis caused by sterile non-latex protective gloves: clinical investigation and chemical analyses.

Contact Dermatitis 2013 Februrary
BACKGROUND: An increased frequency of occupational contact hand dermatitis among surgical operating theatre personnel has been noticed.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate patients with occupational contact dermatitis caused by their rubber gloves, and to describe a method for analysing the content of the allergens in the gloves.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patch tests were performed with the baseline series, a rubber chemical series, and the patients' own gloves. A method for analysing 1,3-diphenylguanidine (DPG) and cetylpyridinium chloride in the gloves was developed.

RESULTS: Contact allergy to thiuram mix was found in 8 of 16 patients, whereas 12 of 16 patients reacted to DPG. In 7 of 8 patients, contact allergy to cetylpyridinium chloride was found. In the patients' gloves, cetylpyridinium chloride and DPG were detected at higher concentrations on the inside of the gloves than on the outside. Most patients had worked for decades in their present occupations, but their hand dermatitis had only been present for months.

CONCLUSION: Contact allergy to DPG in gloves has been disputed, but, in this study, we were able to confirm the presence of DPG and cetylpyridinium chloride in the causative gloves by using a modified method for the analysis. The presence of these chemicals in gloves caused an increase in occupational contact dermatitis in surgical operating theatre personnel.

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