Metal Industry

  • Ana Luiza Lima
  • Peter ElsnerEmail author
Living reference work entry


The metal industry employs a significant part of the workforce in modern industrial countries mainly in machine construction, car engineering, metal production, and electrotechnical production. Metal workers are exposed to numerous exogenous factors and are more susceptible to the effects of exposure to contact irritants. In many jobs in the metal industry, there is a high risk of irritant hand dermatitis.

Prevalence rates of hand dermatitis in metalworking companies may exceed 20%.

Allergic contact dermatitis seems to be less prevalent. Most frequent sensitizations seem to be to metalworking fluid constituents and rarely to metals themselves.


Metal industry Metal dust Metalworking fluids Preservatives 


  1. Agalliu I, Eisen EA, Kriebel D, Quinn MM, Wegman DH (2005) A biological approach to characterizing exposure to metalworking fluids and risk of prostate cancer (United States). Cancer Causes Control 16:323–331CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Berndt U, Hinnen U, Iliev D, Elsner P (2000) Hand eczema in metal worker trainees – an analysis of risk factors. Contact Dermatitis 43(6):327–332CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Federal Statistical Office, Company and establishment register (2008a) Please note that according to company registers, about 59.5% of all companies employ 1–9 workers; whereas 63.2% of all employees work in companies with more than 250 workersGoogle Scholar
  4. Federal Statistical Office, employment by economic activity (Erwerbstätige nach Wirtschaftszweigen) (2008b)Google Scholar
  5. Fischer T, Rystedt I (1983) Cobalt allergy in hard metal workers. Contact Dermatitis 9:115–121CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Fisher AA, Adams RM (1986) Occupational dermatitis. In: Fisher AA (ed) Contact dermatitis. Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia, pp 486–514Google Scholar
  7. Foussereau J, Benezra C, Maibach H (1982) Occupational contact dermatitis. Munksgaard, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  8. Hinnen U, Elsner P (1995) Irritancy exposure assessment in metal workers. Curr Probl Dermatol 22:67–71CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Iliev D, Elsner P (1997) Clinical irritant contact dermatitis syndromes. Immunol Allergy Clin 17:365–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Iliev D, Hinnen U, Elsner P (1997) Reproducibility of a non-invasive skin irritancy test in a cohort of metalworker trainees. Contact Dermatitis 36:101–103CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Itschner L, Hinnen U, Elsner P (1996a) Prevention of hand eczema in the metal working industry: risk awareness and behavior of metal worker apprentices. Dermatology 193:226–229CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Itschner L, Hinnen U, Elsner P (1996b) Skin risk assessment of metalworking fluids: a survey among Swiss suppliers. Dermatology 193:33–35CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Kanerva L, Kiilunen M, Jolanki R, Estlander T, Aitio A (1997) Hand dermatitis and allergic patch test reactions caused by nickel in electroplaters. Contact Dermatitis 36:137–140CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Papa G, Romano A, Quaratino D, Di Fonso M, Viola M, Sernia S, Boccia I, Di Gioacchino M, Venuti A, Calvieri S (2000) Contact dermatoses in metal workers. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 13:43–47CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Park S, Stewart PA, Coble JB (2009) Determinants of exposure to metalworking fluid aerosols: a literature review and analysis of reported measurements. Ann Occup Hyg 53(3):271–288PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Suuronen K, Jolanki R, Luukkonen R, Alanko K, Susitaival P (2007) Self-reported skin symptoms in metal workers. Contact Dermatitis 57:259–264CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Thompson D, Kriebel D, Quinn MM, Wegman DH, Eisen EA (2005) Occupational exposure to metalworking fluids and risk of breast cancer among female autoworkers. Am J Ind Med 47:153–160CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Zamanian Z, Mortazavi SM, Asmand E, Nikeghbal K (2015) Assessment of health consequences of steel industry welders’ occupational exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Int J Prev Med 21:123Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity Hospital JenaJenaGermany

Personalised recommendations