Contact Dermatitis in Cabinetmakers

  • Lauren FriedEmail author
  • David E. Cohen
Reference work entry


The majority of cases of wood-related skin diseases occur in occupational settings.

Several materials are known causes of contact dermatitis in cabinetmakers, including raw-wood components (bark, sapwood, or heartwood) and chemicals (fungicides, preservatives, fire retardants).

Contact with wood may cause a skin reaction through chemical irritation, sensitization, or both. The main categories of sensitizers found in different woods include quinones, terpenes, phenols, stilbenes, and other miscellaneous agents.

Contact dermatitis to the chemicals involved in the woodworking industry is much more common than reactions to the woods itself. The main chemical allergens are preservatives and treatments, glues, paints, and lacquers.

Other occupational illnesses related to the cabinetmaking industry include contact urticaria, allergic rhinitis, allergic alveolitis, organic dust toxic syndrome, conjunctivitis, bronchitis, and occupational asthma. Erythema multiforme-like reactions have been reported to several wood and plant species, including Dalbergia nigra, poison ivy, primula, terpenes, and mugwort. Adenocarcinoma and squamous carcinomas of the sinonasal cavity have also been observed.

Clothing and barrier creams may aggravate the problem by proving warmer, moist areas in which the dust may repeatedly become trapped (Morris-Jones et al. 2002).

The best treatment for skin problems caused by the woods or chemicals of the cabinetmaking industry is prevention. Topical steroids, antihistamines, and nasal sprays, and sometimes simply avoidance of the chemical comprise the mainstay of treatment.


Allergic contact dermatitis Wood dust Contact dermatitis Cabinet makers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology and Allergic, Occupational and Environmental DermatologyNYU Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.The Ronald O. Perelman Department of DermatologyNew York University School of Medicine, NYU Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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