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Exposure of hairdressers to aromatic diamines: an interventional study confirming the protective effect of adequate glove use
  1. Tom Geens1,
  2. Evelyne Aerts1,
  3. Marc Borguet1,
  4. Vincent Haufroid2,
  5. Lode Godderis3
  1. 1Provikmo Occupational Health Services, Bruges, Belgium
  2. 2Louvain centre for Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (LTAP), Institut de Recherche Expérimentale et Clinique, Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium
  3. 3Environment and Health, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tom Geens, Provikmo Occupational Health Services, Dirk Martensstraat 26, Bruges B-8200, Belgium; tom.geens{at}


Objectives Many hairdressers leave their profession due to health problems, including occupational hand eczema, which has been associated with skin exposure to sensitising hair dye components such as paraphenylenediamine (PPD) and paratoluenediamine (PTD). Since the use of protective gloves is advised but without the short-term effect being known, our main goal was to attribute a significant biomarker reduction to adequate glove use, in a real work situation.

Methods 11 hairdressers were studied over 2 weeks. In the first week, they worked as usual and (re)used their gloves. Thereafter, we intervened to improve glove use during the second week. In both weeks, workplace exposure data were collected through observations, and systemic exposure was quantified by biomonitoring of PPD and PTD. The effect of improved glove use and other exposure determinants was studied through mixed models analysis.

Results We showed that improved glove use significantly reduced mean PTD concentrations from 24.1 before to 4.2 µg/g creatinine after the intervention (n=11, third day postshift). In addition, mean PTD concentrations increased during the first week (14 times elevated after three consecutive shifts), but not during the second week. For PPD, no effect of improved glove use and no accumulation effect were detected.

Conclusions Our study is the first to deliver evidence for a significant reduction in systemic exposure to PTD through improved glove use. Disposable gloves should never be reused. PTD biomonitoring is shown to be a practical tool to quantify recent dermal exposure to oxidative hair dye components.

  • glove use
  • paraphenylenediamine
  • paratoluenediamine

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