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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2009 October;144(5):507-14

Copyright © 2009 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

The epidemiology of contact allergy. Allergen exposure and recent trends

Thyssen J. P.

Department of Dermato-Allergology, National Allergy Research Centre, University of Copenhagen, Gentofte Hospital, Denmark


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Contact allergy is frequent among dermatitis patients and subjects in the general population. This review aims to update the reader on the epidemiology of contact allergy epidemics. It presents recent epidemiological data on metals, fragrances, hair dyes, preservatives and thiurams. It concludes that the prevalence of nickel allergy is decreasing among young women whereas the prevalence of cobalt allergy remains stable. The prevalence of chromium allergy is currently increasing significantly in both sexes, mainly as a result of leather exposure. The epidemiology of fragrance allergy is changing as the prevalence of fragrance mix I and myroxylon pereirae allergy has decreased significantly in recent years and as the prevalence of fragrance mix II allergy has increased. The prevalence of p-phenylenediamine allergy seems stable in Europe but remains high. The prevalence of isothiazolinone allergy remains high whereas the prevalence of methyldibromo glutaronitrile allergy has decreased following regulatory intervention. Finally, the prevalence of thiuram allergy is decreasing as a result of improved rubber glove production.

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