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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32654

Title: Occupational Exposures and the Co-occurrence of Work-related Skin and Respiratory Symptoms
Authors: Arrandale, Victoria Helen
Advisor: Holness, Dorothy Linn
Department: Medical Science
Keywords: Respiratory symptoms
Skin symptoms
Occupational exposures
Issue Date: 20-Aug-2012
Abstract: Occupational skin and respiratory symptoms, and disease, are common problems. Workers can develop new disease or aggravate existing disease as a result of exposures at work. Many workers are exposed to chemicals that can cause both respiratory and skin responses and there is evidence that some workers experience symptoms in both systems. There is also evidence that skin exposure may lead to sensitization and the development of respiratory disease. There is very little research that has examined both airborne and skin exposures together with lung and skin outcomes. The purpose of this thesis was to further investigate the relationships between occupational exposures, skin symptoms and disease, and respiratory symptoms and disease. Four studies were undertaken to improve our understanding of these complex relationships. Results from a study of clinical patch test data determined that seven of the ten most common occupational contact allergens are also capable of causing occupational asthma and that these common occupational exposures may not be recognized as sensitizers in common reference materials. Exposure-response relationships for skin symptoms were modeled in bakery workers and auto body shop workers using historical data; significant exposure-response relationships were found for auto body workers. In two separate studies of concurrent skin and respiratory symptoms, workers did report concurrent skin and respiratory symptoms. In predictive models, subjects reporting a history of eczema were more likely to report concurrent skin and respiratory symptoms. Overall, the results from this thesis provide more evidence that the skin and respiratory systems are associated. This body of work suggests that: (1) several common occupational exposures can cause disease in both the skin and respiratory system; (2) a portion of workers report both skin and respiratory symptoms; and (3) exposure-response relationships do exist for skin symptoms, both work-related and non-work-related. Future studies need to gather detailed information about exposure and response in both systems in order to better determine the role of exposure(s) in the development of skin and respiratory symptoms. Improved understanding of these relationships will allow for more targeted and effective exposure prevention strategies and will ultimately reduce the burden of occupational disease.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32654
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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