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August 1983

The Epidemiology of Work-Related Skin Disease in South Carolina

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Dr Keil) and the Environmental Health Sciences (Dr Shmunes), College of Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Arch Dermatol. 1983;119(8):650-654. doi:10.1001/archderm.1983.01650320024010

• Problems associated with occupationally related skin disease were examined by reviewing the charts of all closed cases of skin disease processed by the South Carolina Industrial Commission during the period of July 1, 1978, through June 30, 1979. During the review period, 958 cases occurred that accounted for costs of $142,925 and 2,100 days lost from work. Through the use of selected objective criteria, only 15% of these cases were defined as serious, but they accounted for 48% of all dollar costs and 96% of the total lost time. Similarly, with the use of a percentile approach to estimate severity, persons in the upper fifth percentile of cost elements were responsible for 68% of the total incurred fees and 77% of the lost time. Eighty-eight percent of all claimants said their hands were affected by their skin problem. Almost 13% of the claimants reported that their entire skin surface was involved. There was a significant clustering of cases from June through September among male claimants, but no seasonal incidence was observed in female claimants. We conclude that the identification of factors that characterize the small number of cases with disproportionate economic impact deserves greater attention and investigation.

(Arch Dermatol 1983;119:650-654)

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