Among 250 workers engaged on wet sandpapering of primer paint on car bodies 65 developed a contact dermatitis. The average latent period before dermatitis developed was 4·6 months: only 60% of the patients made a completely satisfactory recovery. The average duration of dermatitis was 5·3 months.
Two thirds of the men used one of two barrier creams supplied, while one third used none. Routine patch testing showed that the majority was allergic to chromate. It was found that a primer paint contained zinc chromate, which had been introduced into the paint by the manufacturers shortly before the first cases occurred. Removal of chromate from the paint resulted in a prompt cessation of new cases of dermatitis.
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