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Keywords:

  • contruction workers;
  • occupational dermatitis;
  • contact allergy;
  • slag;
  • iron blast furnace operation;
  • cement;
  • prevention

Hexavalent chromate in cement is the commonest cause of allergic contact dermatitis, especially among construction workers. Over the past decades, there has been a general decline in the prevalence of chromate allergy among construction workers. We suspect that a change in the constituents of cement, resulting in the lowering of the hexavalent chromate, contributed to the decline. Slag (free from hexavalent chromate) from the iron-quenched, blast furnace process has been used as a substitute for clinker (which contains high hexavalent chromate) in manufacturing cement As a result, the slag has diluted the hexavalent chromate content of cement. Our analytical study showed that slag is free from hexavalent chromate and that the hexavalent chromate of clinker ranged from 6–17 μg/g. Substituting slag for clinker resulted in dilution of hexavalent chromate in the cement. The hexavalent chromate content of cement declines proportionately with increasing proportion of slag, e.g., a cement containing 5% slag has a total hexavalent chromate concentration of 17.5 μg/g. whereas increasing the proportion of slag to 60%; reduced the hexavalent chromate content to 7.1 μg/g. in the same cement.