Prevalence of, and work-related risk factors for, hand eczema in a Norwegian general population (The HUNT Study)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Chemical exposures at work and at home may cause hand eczema. However, this has been scarcely described for Norway. Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of, and occupational risk factors for, hand eczema in Norway. Methods: Among 50 805 respondents (aged ≥20 years) to the third Nord‐Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT3), 5757 persons reported ever having hand eczema, and 4206 answered a hand eczema questionnaire. Results: The lifetime prevalences of hand eczema were 8.4% in men and 13.8% in women (p < 0.001), with onset at age ≤10 years in 24% (men) and 20% (women), and onset at age ≥30 years in 37% (men) and 25% (women) (p < 0.001). Work‐related hand eczema affected 4.8% of the population, and was most frequently associated with health/social work (29%) and occupational cleaning (20%) in women, and with farming (26%) and industrial occupations (27%) in men. Cleaning detergents (75%) and other chemicals (36%) were the most common exacerbating factors. Conclusions: The prevalence of hand eczema was 11.3%, and that of work‐related hand eczema was 4.8%. Hand eczema was more common in women than in men, but with a later onset in men. Cleaning detergents were the most common aggravating factors. A large proportion of the Nord‐Trøndelag population is employed in farming, providing the possibility to identify farming as an important risk factor for hand eczema.