Research Projects



Currentright arrow Completedright arrow


Currentright arrow Completedright arrow


Currentright arrow Completedright arrow

Occupational dermatitis and asthma in New Zealand cleaners

The aims of this project are:

  1. To assess the prevalence of work-related dermatitis in New Zealand cleaners and compare it with a non-exposed reference;
  2. To assess what proportion of work-related dermatitis is new onset or incident dermatitis (as opposed to exacerbation of pre-existing dermatitis;
  3. To assess the severity of work-related dermatitis based on symptom history and expert opinion;
  4. To assess the cleaners' exposure to cleaning agents and the frequency and duration of "wet work";
  5. To assess the associations between cleaning exposures and wet work, and work-related dermatitis;
  6. To assess which factors increase the probability of a favourable prognosis after the diagnosis of occupational dermatitis;
  7. To assess which preventive programmes are likely to be most effective.
  8. To asses the prevalence, risk and determinants of respiratory symptoms in professional cleaners;
  9. To assess how asthma in cleaners compares with asthma in other settings; 
  10. To assess the effects of cleaning and cleaning-related exposures on lung function and bronchodilator response in cleaners.

Publications resulting from this study:

 Douwes J , Slater T , McLean D , Pearce N , Judd L , Firestone R , Dryson E , Walls C , Foliaki S , Harding E , Duckett H , Cheung K , Coenraads P , Shanthakumar M . Occupational dermatitis in New Zealand cleaners. Study report for the Department of Labour. Centre for Public Health Research, 2012.

Click here to view the report



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Douwes J, Slater T, Shanthakumar M, McLean D, Tupai-Firestone R, Judd L, Pearce N. Determinants of hand dermatitis, urticaria and loss of skin barrier function in professional cleaners in New Zealand. Int J Occup Environ Health, 2017; 23:2. link icon
Brooks C, Slater T, Tupai-Firestone R, Zock J, Pearce N, Douwes J. Respiratory health in professional cleaners: symptoms, lung function, and risk factors. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2020; 50(5): 567-576. link icon

December 2007


  • Dr Lissa Judd
  • Anwyl Specialist Medical Centre
  • Professor Pieter Jan Coenraads
  • University of Groningen


  • Health Research Council of New Zealand