Background The epidemiology of nickel allergy in occupational settings is not well understood. Objective The aim of the study was to characterize occupationally related nickel allergy (ORNA). Methods This is a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of 44,378 patients patch tested by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group from 1998 to 2016. Characteristics of individuals with ORNA were compared with those with non-ORNA (NORNA). Results A total of 7928 (18.2%) individuals were positive to nickel sulfate 2.5%. Two hundred sixty-eight (3.4%) had ORNA. As compared with NORNA, ORNA was statistically associated with the male sex (41.0% vs 12.9%, P < 0.001), a diagnosis of irritant contact dermatitis (22.4% vs 12.0%, P < 0.001), and no history of eczema (81.7% vs 75.7%, P = 0.0217). The most common sites of ORNA dermatitis were hand (39.9%) and arm (18.1%), which were significantly more common than in NORNA (P < 0.0001). Sixteen industry categories and 22 occupation categories were identified for ORNA; the most common industries were durable goods manufacturing (24.6%) and personal services (15.7%), and the most frequent occupations were hairdressers/cosmetologists/barbers (14.3%), machine operators (9.3%), and health care workers (7.1%). Overall 30% of ORNA occupations were in metalworking. Of 215 ORNA sources identified, instruments/phones/other equipment (16.3%), vehicles/machinery (15.8%), and tools (15.3%) were the most common. Conclusions Occupational nickel allergy is distinct from nonoccupational nickel allergy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy