Student Research: David Bonauto

, , 2000
Faculty Advisor: Matthew C. Keifer

A Telephone Survey of Work and Injuries in Teenage Agricultural Workers in an Eastern Washington Community


Workers in the US and around the world face significant risks for dermal exposure to chemicals. In the US in 2003 43,400 skin disease cases were reported to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics for a total incidence rate of 4.9 per 10,000 workers (OSHA 2005) Dermatitis is the second most commonly reported occupational disease in Washington State. (WA L&I, 2001) Dermal contact with chemicals in the workplace can cause any level of harm from slight irritation to acute systemic poisoning. Long-term effects include cancer and central nervous system disorders.

Exposures should be controlled using such techniques as substitution of less hazardous chemicals, re-design of processes, introduction of tools to prevent contact and good housekeeping practices. (OSHA 2005) However, these engineering and administrative controls are insufficient to completely eliminate exposure in many cases, leaving chemical protective clothing as the only means to prevent exposure. Given that hands are very frequently exposed, gloves are of primary importance. In order to protect workers, we need to know which materials are resistant to which chemicals and for how long in order to make recommendations for specific gloves in particular circumstances.

Taken from the beginning of thesis.