Nannie Bangsgaard, Jacob Pontoppidan Thyssen, Torkil Menné, Klaus Ejner Andersen, Charlotte Mörtz, Evy Paulsen, Mette Sommerlund, Niels Kren Veien, Grete Laurberg, Knud Kaaber, Jens Thormann, Bo Lasthein Andersen, Anne Danielsen, Christian Avnstorp, Berit Kristensen, Axel Ove Kristensen, Susanne Vissing, Niels Henrik Nielsen, Jeanne Duus Johansen
Background. Epoxy resin monomers are strong skin sensitizers that are widely used in industrial sectors. In Denmark, the law stipulates that workers must undergo a course on safe handling of epoxy resins prior to occupational exposure, but the effectiveness of this initiative is largely unknown. Objectives. To evaluate the prevalence of contact allergy to epoxy resin monomer (diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A; MW 340) among patients with suspected contact dermatitis and relate this to occupation and work-related consequences. Patients/methods. The dataset comprised 20 808 consecutive dermatitis patients patch tested during 2005-2009. All patients with an epoxy resin-positive patch test were sent a questionnaire. Results. A positive patch test reaction to epoxy resin was found in 275 patients (1.3%), with a higher proportion in men (1.9%) than in women (1.0%). The prevalence of sensitization to epoxy resin remained stable over the study period. Of the patients with an epoxy resin-positive patch test, 71% returned a questionnaire; 95 patients had worked with epoxy resin in the occupational setting, and, of these, one-third did not use protective gloves and only 50.5% (48) had participated in an educational programme. Conclusion. The 1% prevalence of epoxy resin contact allergy is equivalent to reports from other countries. The high occurrence of epoxy resin exposure at work, and the limited use of protective measures, indicate that reinforcement of the law is required.