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Health Tip: Job-Related Chemical Exposure Through the Skin

(HealthDay News) -- Some 13 million workers in the United States may be exposed to hazardous chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says.

This type of exposure may lead to contact dermatitis (eczema), skin cancer and skin infection or injury, the agency warns.

Workers at risk include those in food service, cosmetology, health care, agriculture, cleaning, painting, construction and printing, NIOSH adds.

The skin is the body's largest organ, accounting for more than 10 percent of a person's body mass.

Traditionally, workplace exposure has focused on preventing inhalation of chemicals, rather than skin exposure, the agency says. It notes that this accounts for why preventive measures against skin exposure are much more limited.

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