Causes of Industrial DermatitisWhat causes industrial dermatitis?
Causes of Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Irritant Contact Dermatitis is an inflammatory response of the skin that is caused by contact with an irritant; usually a chemical of some sort. In some cases a reaction can occur immediately upon contact with the irritant, or in other cases the reaction can develop over time after prolonged exposure. Common irritants include the following:
Water: If water is very hard (high in dissolved minerals), very chalky or if it is heavily chlorinated, it can have an adverse reaction with the skin, particularly if the exposure to the water is prolonged or frequent. Activities such as repeatedly washing hands, or spending long periods with wet hands can cause irritant contact dermatitis.
Soaps, shampoos and detergents are designed to remove dirt from surfaces, but due to their chemical nature can also strip skin of vital nutrients and protection, leaving it more vulnerable to developing dermatitis, as well as potential reactions of the skin to the chemical itself.
Solvents, such as petrol, acetone and turpentine have uses in many industries, but skin contact with these can cause serious damage, and can potentially cause further issues if they are inhaled or the get into the bloodstream. Other oils, fuels and greases can also break down some of the skin’s natural defences and cause irritation.
Acids and alkalis can react with skin, either on their own, or in some cases with a catalyst, such as water. In strong doses these chemicals can burn away the surface of the skin causing serious injury and even disfigurement, but in less concentrated doses they can irritate the surface of the skin causing discomfort.
A wide variety of foods have been shown to cause dermatitis including sugar, flour, spices, fruits (especially citrus) and also some fish and meats.
Other situations that mustn’t be overlooked are the physical and mechanical situations that can also cause issues; for example working in a hot or humid environment which can lead to sweating. Not only can the sweat react with elements within the atmosphere, frequent sweating can produce the moist skin conditions in which other issues can arise.
Similarly in cases such as abrasion: the physical contact of the skin with an abrasive surface could cause discomfort, whereas repeated contact could lead to the development of other types of skin condition. All of these fall under the umbrella term of irritant contact dermatitis.
Causes of Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic Contact Dermatitis is caused by an allergic reaction to a substance that can either happen immediately, or can develop slowly as the sufferer becomes ‘sensitized’ to a substance. Common allergens include the following:
Metals, such as nickel, cobalt, chromium and zinc can be found all around us in many different products, but can commonly cause allergic reactions to some people if they come into contact with their skin.
Textiles go through a range of processes during their manufacture, including exposure to dyes and formaldehyde resins, some of which can remain in the material and cause skin reactions to those who work in their manufacture or those who come into contact with them afterwards.
Some of the additives used in rubber, such as latex, can cause quite severe allergic reactions.
Plants can contain a wide range of allergens. Chrysanthemum, sunflowers, tulips and daffodils have all been known to cause reactions.
The allergens above constitute some of the most common, but due to the nature of the human body, different people can develop allergies to all kinds of different substances, so nothing can be ruled out entirely.
If you, or someone you know is a victim of ‘industrial dermatitis’ then call our advice line free, 0800 122 3130 or request a free call back when its convenient for you.
Claiming For Your Industrial Dermatitis
Free Legal Help
If you are unsure if you have a claim for industrial dermatitis (sometimes called occupational dermatitis), then call our personal injury claims team for free, no obligation advice on making a claim. They will ask you some simple questions about your condition and talk to you with what’s happened and can tell you if you have a claim or not. Call us 24/7 on 0800 122 3130.
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