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Date of last update: 10/18/2017.

Forum Name: Dermatology Topics

Question: Irritant Contact Dermatitis

 safetypeg - Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:28 pm

I have numerous employees that have irritant contact dermatitis on the back of their hands. Could this be from wearing latex gloves while they work? Will changing to nitrile or vinyl gloves help? We work in the hospitalitiy industry and in some job classifications it is mandatory for the employee to wear gloves.
 Dr.M.jagesh kamath - Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:40 am

User avatar Hello,My answer is more in line with health care industry but would well apply in other situations as well.From estimates about 20% would develop allergy to natural latex.Persons with atopy ie allergy inherited from childhood are more at risk.Immediate allergy is one type and the other is delayed reactions,the more common ones.Also cornstarch powder used to ease while wearing the glove is also implicated in increasing the chances of allergy.Also different companies vary in their allergen potentiality in relation to manufacture methods.Latex,vulcanizing agents,preservants,accerarators like thiurams,MBTs,and antioxidants all are capable of causing or supporting formation of allergy.Even non latex gloves need some of these in their production,but these do not cause acute sensitization of type1.So since your industry does not require a superior barrier protection vinyl gloves may be a better choice.Best to minimise contact time and wash hands at the earliest.I am sure you will find more information from a occupational medicine specialist to tailor to your needs.Best wishes.
 safetypeg - Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:20 pm

Dr. Kamath,

Thank you for your prompt response; I really appreciate the time you spent answering my questions.

 Bishop78 - Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:18 am

To question your post, does your company deal with Isopropanol (90% or higher) or lead? I am an Engineer for a computer board manufacturing company and I have had many problems since I've worked here with itching, rash, and dry skin on the back of my hands and fingers. I keep getting diagnosed with just normal dermatitis and none of the medication helps. I don't have any sensitivity to the latex or nitrile gloves we have. I have been on a mission to find the answer to this question for 3 years now.

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