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Derm News: 2007.20(6)

Contact allergy epidemics and their control

Contact Dermatitis, 56(4):185-195
JACOB PONTOPPIDAN THYSSEN, JEANNE DUUS JOHANSEN, TORKIL MENNÉ
ABSTRACT

Contact dermatitis can be severe and lead to sick leave as well as significant healthcare expenses. The aim of this review is to present the published knowledge on 6 historical epidemics of contact allergy to apply this knowledge on the prevention and control of future contact allergy epidemics. A historical review is performed on nickel, chromium, methylchloroisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone, methyldibromo glutaronitrile, formaldehyde, and para-phenylenediamine. The first cases of contact dermatitis are mostly occupational, whereas consumer cases appear later. There is often a latency period from the first cases are observed until an epidemic occurs, and the problem is recognized. Finally, no one seems to take responsibility of dealing with the situation, and there are no attempts of regulation until an epidemic is consolidated among consumers for many years. Steps should be taken to prevent contact allergy epidemics. It is essential that dermatologist, scientists, administrators, and consumers organize and structure known methods to accelerate the control of emerging contact allergens.


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The Derm News service provided by the Editorial Consultants of Skin Therapy Letter© and its founding editor Dr. Stuart Maddin.