Cement burns, cement dermatitis, and hexavalent chromium allergies are a major skin
health problem suffered by workers that work with wet cement products. A cement burn
is an event. Cement dermatitis and hexavalent chromium allergies are skin diseases.
This website contains the latest information on avoiding, controlling and healing of
cement burns, cement dermatitis and chromium allergies. A new pH buffering solution
changes the chemical makeup of cement on contact and prevents painful cement burns,
cement dermatitis and hexavalent chromium allergies. Cement burns, cement dermatitis
and chrome allergies can literally become a thing of the past.
Workers at Risk?
Portland Cement is the most widely used building material in the world. Each year around 100 million metric tons are consumed in the United States. More than 1,300,000 American workers in 30 occupations are regularly exposed to wet cement. Portland Cement is a component in concrete, mortar, plaster, stucco, terrazzo and tile grout. Exposed workers include concrete finishers, ready mixed concrete truck drivers, precast concrete workers, carpenters, construction laborers, brick and block layers, hod carriers, terrazzo workers, tile setters and others. Workers exposed to cement dust include cement plant workers, saw cutting and boring workers and disaster emergency personnel.
Fire Fighters at the World Trade Center disaster were immersed in overwhelming amounts of cement dust. Cement dust plus sweat is highly corrosive. CLICK HERE to read what the Fire Fighters did about the problem.
Is Wet Cement A Big Problem?
Yes! Wet cement is the number 1 cause of occupational skin disease in the United States. Portland cement is estimated to account for 25% of all work related skin problems world wide. Concrete workers lose work at 7 times the national average. Concrete workers report 4 times more lost work days for skin problems that do all construction workers. 5 to 15% of workers coming into contact with Portland cement containing Hexavalent Chromium [CR6] may suffer allergic contact dermatitis at a rate 25 times that of the general population.
While these statistics seem grim, it may be worse. Experts agree that this is only the tip of a very large iceberg because numbers are based on "reported" information. Most skin problems are not reported. Workers in the trowel trades are a tough group. Most live with their skin problems because they think it's just part of the job or you're a sissy if you complain. A recent statistically valid survey of 442 apprentice cement masons revealed that 71% had had at least one significant skin problem in the past 12 months. Only 7% reported lost time or doctors visits for the problem. 93% of apprentices with skin problems continued work without seeking medical treatment.
What Makes Wet Cement So Dangerous?
Portland cement contains calcium oxide. When water is added, calcium hydroxide is formed. Calcium hydroxide is extremely alkaline with a pH of 12.0 to 13.0. A substances pH is a measure of its acidity or alkalinity. The pH scale ranges from pH 0 on the acidic end to pH 14 on the alkaline end. pH 7 is neutral. The pH scale is like the Richter scale of earthquakes. Both are logarithmic. On a logarithmic scale, the intervals between numbers are not equal. Every whole number on the pH scale represents a 10-fold change in alkalinity or acidity. For example, pH 13 is one million times more alkaline than pure water at pH 7. Strong acids are pH 1-3. Strong alkalis [bases] are pH 12-14. Normal human skin is pH 5.5. Strong acids or alkalis can damage or destroy human skin. Prolonged exposure to alkalis in wet cement has been documented to destroy skin all the way to the bone.