The European Union’s (EU) prohibition on the use or supply of cement containing >2 ppm of chromate has led to a significant drop in allergic contact dermatitiseuropean union(ACD) among exposed workers, according to a study published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

The study was aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of the chromate-related directive passed by the EU legislature in 2005. Hexavalent chromate (chromate) in cement is a well-recognised cause of ACD.

Researchers analyzed the incidence of work-related ACD cases, taking into account those attributed to chromate and occupation. They found a marked decline in ACD – attributed to chromate and not attributed to chromate – between the time period preceding the EU legislation (2002-2004) and the post-legislation period (2005-2009). The majority of the decline in incidence occurred during 2005.

“The timing of this significant decline in the UK incidence of chromate attributed ACD, and the greater decline in workers potentially exposed to cement strongly suggests that the EU Directive2003/53/EC was successful in reducing exposure to chromate in cement in the UK,” concluded the study’s authors (S. J. Stocks, R. McNamee, S. Turner, M. Carder and R. M. Agius.