Question: Up to 20% of cases of occupational dermatitis cases are due to exposure to organic solvents. What is the pathophysiology for the majority of cases of occupational solvent-related dermatitis?
Answer: According to the cited reference, “Most of the adverse skin effects of solvents are attributable to irritation based on their local defatting action, i.e. dissolution of the skin surface lipids, the lipid material in the stratum corneum, and the fatty fraction of the cell membranes. Allergic contact dermatitis is rare.” (Wahlberg and Adams Wahlberg (1999) Solvents. In: Adams RM (ed) Occupational skin disease, 3rd edn. W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia, pp 484–500 and Kamijima M et al. Occupational trichloroethylene exposure as a cause of idiosyncratic generalized skin disorders and accompanying hepatitis similar to drug hypersensitivities. 2007 Int Arch Occup Environ Health 80:357-370)