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"VDT dermatosis": another modern myth?


Working at a computer terminal all day does not increase your chances of developing a skin rash, says a group of Swedish scientists reporting in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Apparently, the suspicion that video display terminals can cause a condition dubbed "VDT dermatosis" is unfounded.

Some previous studies done in Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. suggested a possible link between exposure to computer display terminals and certain skin problems. The disorder most commonly complained of was a reddish rash similar to acne. Researchers had suspected a variety of possible causes from X-ray emissions and ultraviolet radiation to the electrostatic and magnetic fields from the VDT.

Of the 3,877 exposed or nonexposed Swedish workers surveyed, 809 were randomly selected from 36 different companies in four cities. Of 46 persons suffering from facial rashes with a higher level of VDT exposure, 36 had skin problems on the side of the face most commonly turned away from the video terminal.

Incidents of previous skin disorders were not statistically significant between exposure groups, nor were there signs that other environmental factors such as smoking, cosmetics, wall-to-wall carpeting, or office renovation had affected the results. The data also show that a person's job description was irrelevant to skin problems, since there were no marked differences between programmers, secretaries or data processors. In fact, slightly fewer symptoms were seen among persons working around larger static and magnetic fields.
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Title Annotation:computer terminals and skin rashes
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Oct 1, 1990
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