Fiberglass dermatitis from printed circuit boards

D. Koh, T. C. Aw, I. S. Foulds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Seven cases of fiberglass dermatitis among production operators in the electronics industry are reported. This was due to the repeated daily handling of printed circuit boards (PRCBs). The predominant complaint of the workers was itch of the lateral aspects of the fingers and finger webs. In six workers, unroofed vesicles, pinhead areas of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, and excoriation marks were noted at these sites. Skin stripping of the affected sites confirmed the presence of fiberglass spicules in all cases. The glass fibers had diameters of 11–16 μm. Patch testing of six of the workers with the European Standard series of allergens revealed no relevant work‐related contact sensitizers. Microscopic examination of the free edges and scrapings from the PRCBs showed glass fibers of similar fiber length and diameter to those found in the workers' skin. Fiberglass can be used as a reinforcement filling material in some types of PRCBs. Free edges of such PRCBs have easily detached fiberglass spicules. Workers in frequent contact with these PRCBs can have a fiberglass‐induced irritant dermatitis. Preventive measures could include the use of PRCBs with less free fiberglass at its edges, vacuuming of the newly cut boards, use of dusting powder, protective devices and emollients, and improved personal hygiene of the workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-198
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • dermatitis
  • electronics
  • fiberglass
  • occupational
  • printed circuit boards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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