Allergic contact dermatitis in American aircraft manufacture

  • Hackett J
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Background: This study was prompted by the paucity of generally available information on the materials used in modern aircraft manufacture and the allergic contact dermatitis caused by those materials. Objective: The purpose of this study was to review the author's experience with aircraft workers over a period of 5 years, with attention to documentable allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) that can be attributed to their work. Methods: All patients who were referred for evaluation of a possible work-related injury were subjected to a routine workup. This included an Occupational history, a specific delineation of their jobs, review of Material Safety Data Sheets, physical examinations, patch testing to possible causative agents, and, when necessary, inspection of the specific workplaces. Results: Forty-four workers were found to have ACD that, more probably than not, was caused by a specific material in their Workplaces. Although many common contactants appeared with predictable frequency, the use of 'pre-preg' materials and modern sealants often led to ACD that could not be diagnosed with 'standard' screening trays of test materials. Conclusion: When evaluating dermatitis in someone engaged in the manufacture of aircraft, one must be aware of the numerous materials used in this industry that have the potential to cause ACD.

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  • John P. Hackett

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