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Batik Manufacturing Workers

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Kanerva's Occupational Dermatology


Batik, an intangible cultural heritage from Indonesia, is made through a complicated process of drawing liquid wax, with a special tool called a canting, onto a piece of cloth.

Four steps must be followed to produce batik, which can be repeated multiple times depending on the number of colors desired in the finished piece of handmade or printed batik.

Batik processing requires some supplies that act as irritants or allergens. In addition to affecting the skin, some supplies may produce fumes that also may be health hazards.

Colors distinguish the origin of batik among regions in Indonesia. The use of dye, either natural or synthetic, is essential, and contact dermatitis due to dyes is common. Determining the color that is the cause is difficult because a color usually consists of a mixture of different dyes.

Among the skin disorders, contact dermatitis, either irritant or allergic, is common. Health hazards in batik factory workers are also related to environmental conditions.

Results of a field survey showed that skin disorders correlate with the length of exposure. Personal hygiene and use of personal protective devices can prevent skin disorders.

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The author would like to thank Dr. Windy Keumala Budianti, dermatologist, for preparing the photographs.

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Correspondence to Retno W. Soebaryo .

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© 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Soebaryo, R.W. (2012). Batik Manufacturing Workers. In: Rustemeyer, T., Elsner, P., John, SM., Maibach, H.I. (eds) Kanerva's Occupational Dermatology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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