Occupational Allergic Contact Dermatitis in Wind Turbine Blades Production
Introduction: Epoxy resins, widely used in several industrial sectors, are among the main causes of allergic contact dermatitis. The wind turbine production industry is one of the sectors that uses these products widely. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of contact allergy to epoxy resin and its components among wind turbine blades production workers with suspected contact dermatitis.
Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of the patch test results performed between 2012 and 2019 in wind turbine blades production workers with dermatitis and characterized their demographic and clinical data, patch test results and the occupational impact of allergic contact dermatitis on these workers.
Results: Out of the 3049 patients patch tested in the period 2012-2019, we identified thirteen wind turbine blades production workers, predominantly male (69.2%). All of them handled glues, resins and/or paints in their daily work activities. Seven (53.8%) had a combination of hand dermatitis and airborne dermatitis, two (15.4%) had exclusively hand dermatitis and four (30.8%) had predominantly airborne dermatitis. All patients had positive patch test for epoxy resin and ten patients (76.9%) had also reaction for 1,6-hexanediol diglycidylether. Two patients (15.4%) also had a reaction to the already hardened resin powder. Four (30.8%) patients had to quit their jobs due to allergic contact dermatitis and three (23.1%) were transferred to another workstation without exposure to epoxy resin. Avoidance of exposure resulted in a significant improvement.
Conclusion: With this study, we confirmed that epoxy resin and its components are the main cause of dermatitis among wind turbine blades production workers, that eczema occurs by direct contact and by airborne exposure.
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