Occupational exposure to ethylenebisdithiocarbamates in agriculture and allergy: results from the EUROPIT field study

G. Swaen*, L.G.P.M. van Amelsvoort, D. Boers, E. Corsini, S. Fustinoni, T. Vergieva, C. Bosetti, S. Pennanen, J. Liesivuori, C. Colosio, H. van Loveren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This epidemiological study was carried out to evaluate the possible association between occupational exposure to ethylenebisdithiocarbamates (EDBC) and allergy. The study was conducted in four countries in the European Union: The Netherlands, Finland, Italy and Bulgaria. A total of 248 workers exposed to EDBC and 231 non-occupationally exposed subjects entered the study. Exposure to EDBC was measured as urinary ethylenethiourea (ETU) in urinary samples collected at baseline and after 30 days of exposure. Several effect parameters were evaluated including questionnaire data on allergy, Phadiatop, a general allergy test, and specific IgE parameters. These data were also collected at baseline and after 30 days of exposure. Cross-sectional as well as longitudinal comparisons were made, adjusted for potential confounding factors. No association was found between exposure status, EDBC levels and allergic contact dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, food allergy or atopy as measured by the Phadiatop. The prevalence of skin irritation was elevated in the Dutch field study only and is more likely a result of plant contact rather than EDBC exposure. Occupational exposure to sunlight was noted to have a protective effect on atopy in terms of IgE positivity. We conclude that the EDBC exposure levels experienced in our field study are not associated with increased prevalence of allergic symptoms or allergy. AD - Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands;
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-20
JournalHuman & Experimental Toxicology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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