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Year : 1991  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 34-35

Exogenous siderosis

Correspondence Address:
K Banerjee

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A Patient working as sweeper inside Durgapur Steel Plant developed brownish black pigmentation with folliculitis of the entire face and volar aspect of fore arms and hands for last 4 years. Biopsy revealed particles in the corium. The change of his site of working brought about dramatic remission but brownish black pigment persisted as occupational stigma.

Keywords: Miller′s disease, Exogenous siderosis

How to cite this article:
Banerjee K, Mukharjee N B, Paul R, Singh D. Exogenous siderosis. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1991;57:34-5

How to cite this URL:
Banerjee K, Mukharjee N B, Paul R, Singh D. Exogenous siderosis. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 1991 [cited 2020 Aug 12];57:34-5. Available from:

  Case Report Top

A 50 year old male industrial sweeper who had progressive irritating follicular lesions of the entire face.[ Figure 1] volar aspect of both the forearms and hands with brownish black pig­mentation was referred for consultation. He had been treated for last 4 years with systemic an­tibiotics and steroid with periodic remission and subsequent exacerbation of the condition.

Some occupational contact dermatitis was thought off. Patch testing with shaving cream, nylon bristle, alum, and soap showed nega­tive results. Skin biopsy at three sites revealed brownish black material at the upper dermis along with picture of folliculitis and perifollicular reaction. [Figure - 2] `X' Ray defraction confirmed it to be steel particles. Authority was informed and he has been allowed to shift his site of job from inside the plant to the colony area which resulted into dramatic improvement in his con­dition. Oral sulfa and antihistaminics along with topical steroid were used for 2 months and then discontinued.

  Comments Top

Jirasek reported red brown tattoo like eruption among welders doing spot welding which he labeled "Exogenous Siderosis" of the skin, referred commonly as "Miller's disease" caused by penetration of minute steel (Iron & Carbon) particles in the exposed part of the mill workers[1]. This particular patient was a sweeper (not miller) employed to remove dust and soot from the floor of the cokeoven plant and also to scrub the floor of gas pipe lines feeding the plant.

Bear and Nater [2].[3] both reported epidermal hypersensitivity to iron and demonstrated pustular lesion to patch testing. Patch testing with ferric-chloride solution has been done in this case leading to eczematous reaction but it is very difficult to conclude only with patch test­ing that dark brown .pigmented. material present in the upper dermis is iron particle. X-Ray defraction of the material done with the help of Sindri fertilizer plant confirmed the composition of the particles.

To the best of our knowledge, this type of extremely rare condition is yet to be published from our country.

  References Top

1.Jirasek L : Occupational exogenous siderosis of the skin, Cont, Derm, 1979:5:334  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Bear R : Allergic contact sensitization to iron, J Aller clin Immunol, 1973:5:35  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Nater JP : Epidermal hydersensitivity to iron, Hautarzt, 1960:11:223.  Back to cited text no. 3    


[Figure - 1], [Figure - 2]


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Online since 15th March '04
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