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Study finds the root of some hand rash.

Study finds the root of some hand rash

A flowering plant closely related to the lily may cause an itchy, red hand rash for some floral industry workers and increase the risk of allergic skin reactions among the 45,000 people in the United States who work with the popular plant, called Alstroemeria.

Diane M. Thiboutot and colleagues at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa., surveyed 57 floral workers, finding 15 (26 percent) reported hand rash within the previous year. Eight floral industry employees with hand rash symptoms agreed to take a patch test, a standardized diagnostic measure of allergic reactions. The researchers exposed workers to pesticides and plant allergens, finding three of the eight subjects allergic to tuliposide A, the noxious substance in the sap of Alstroemeria and tulips. The team reports its work in the January JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DERMATOLOGY.

Floral designers and arrangers come in contact with tuliposide A when they cut Alstroemeria and tulip stems or handle the leaves, Thiboutot says. The allergic reaction develops with repeated exposure to the plant, she says, adding that workers in the study noticed a rash several months after they started working with Alstroemeria. Workers reported the rash vanished during time off, Thiboutot adds.

The researchers believe the growing popularity of Alstroemeria, a South american flower introduced to the United States in the 1980s, may account for some of the growing number of on-the-job dermatitis cases reported to the Society of American florists in Alexandria, Va. Recommendations for flower industry workers with itching, scaling hands include wearing special gloves to block contact with tuliposide A or avoiding flowers that cause skin reactions, Thiboutot notes.
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Title Annotation:flowering plant causes allergic reaction in floral industry workers
Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 17, 1990
Words:280
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