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March 1985

The Cost of Occupational Skin Disease

Author Affiliations

San Francisco

Arch Dermatol. 1985;121(3):332-334. doi:10.1001/archderm.1985.01660030054017

Excluding injuries and accidents, skin disease constitutes a disproportionately large percentage of all remaining occupational illnesses. According to surveys conducted by the national Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 1972 to 1976, skin disease consistently accounted for approximately 40% of all occupationally acquired illnesses. Occupational illnesses, however, accounted for only 2% to 3% of occupational disease as a whole. The annual incidence of occupational skin disease cases was 1.4/ 1,000 full-time workers in 1976,1 but these figures have steadily declined since then to 0.9/1,000 workers in 1980 and 0.7/1,000 workers in 1982 (US Department of Labor, Division of Labor Statistics and Periodic Surveys, oral communication, July 1984), a decline of 50% since 1976. With over 100 million people now employed in the work force,2 one can conservatively estimate that there are at least 70,000 new cases of occupational skin disease annually, if the incidence figures are correct.

Occupational skin disease statistics

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