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Keywords:

  • occupational asthma;
  • rhinitis;
  • pharyngitis;
  • laryngitis;
  • acrylates;
  • methacrylates

Background

Allergic contact dermatitis caused by acrylate compounds is common in dental personnel; they also often complain of work-related respiratory or conjunctival symptoms.

Objective

The aim of the present study was to report the cases of acrylates induced respiratory hypersensitivity in dental personnel diagnosed in Finland during the last 6 years.

Methods

Occupational asthma, rhinitis, laryngitis and pharyngitis cases were diagnosed according to patient history, PEF monitoring, and a work-simulating provocation test.

Results

Twelve cases of respiratory hypersensitivity caused by acrylates diagnosed in dental personnel (six dentists and six dental nurses) in 1992–97 are reported. During this period one case of conjunctivitis and one of laryngitis have been published separately. Nine cases of occupational asthma, two rhinitis cases, and one laryngitis case were verified according to the challenge tests with dental acrylate compounds (acrylates, methacrylates and epoxy acrylates). Only three patients had positive skin-prick test reactions to common environmental allergens, and none reacted to acrylates in the skin-prick tests. Five patients had an elevated total IgE (>110 kU/L). PEF follow-up showed an occupational effect in all examined eight patients with diagnosed asthma. The mean duration of exposure to acrylates was 22 years, and the duration of respiratory symptoms 8 years.

Conclusions

The results indicate that acrylates constitute an important hazard for dental workers. The mechanism of respiratory hypersensitivity is still unknown, and it is probably not IgE-mediated.