Honorary Membership of the European Society of Contact Dermatitis

At the General Assembly of the European Society of Contact Dermatitis, which was held on 8-10 June 2022 in Amsterdam, one of the agenda items was Honorary Memberships. At the initiative of Thomas Rustemeyer, the Executive Committee (EC), consisting of Kristiina Aalto-Korte (President, Finland), Mihaly Matura (Secretary, Sweden), Vera Mahler (Treasurer, Germany), Jeanne Duus Johansen (President elect, Denmark) and Thomas Rustemeyer (Past President, Netherlands) decided to nominate me as an honorary member. Thomas Rustemeyer, on behalf of the EC, spoke as follows:

Anton C. de Groot was born in 1951. He studied medicine at the university of Groningen, The Netherlands, where he also got his training as dermatologist. Already during his training as dermatologist he became interested in contact allergy. In particular contact allergy to cosmetics has drawn his special attention. And, in 1988, he could successfully defend his PhD thesis entitled “Adverse reactions to Cosmetics”.

At that time labelling of cosmetic ingredients was not mandatory in Europe and this extremely frustrated Anton. He approached the newly founded European Society of Contact Dermatitis and became Chairman of the Working Party European Community Affairs. He started an extensive lobbying project, and succeeded. The result was a new legislation by the Commission of the European Communities in 1991, making labelling mandatory for all cosmetic products sold in the EC Member States by December 31, 1997.

One of his greatest hobbies is … writing of medical articles and books. He has published more than 140 manuscripts and 7 books. The last are the 4 big Monographs in Contact Allergy about Essential Oils – contact Allergy and Chemical Composition (3.7 kg !), Non-fragrance allergens in cosmetics, Fragrances and Essential Oils, and the latest Systemic Drugs. But, of course all of us know this most famous book “Patch testing” with the current 4th edition. This book is now also available on our website. It can be accessed very easily to find appropriate test conditions. Thank you very much for making this possible.

Anton has achieved a lot in the field of contact dermatitis and is of outstanding scientific reputation. I would like to propose an honorary membership of our society for Dr. Anton C. de Groot.

Thank you for your attention.

Eczema of the hands. There is no erythema (redness) visible, only scaling and a very painful fissure on the index finger of the right hand. This is called a chronic eczema, not because of its long existence, but because of the clinical symptoms. There are 3 main forms of hand eczema: allergic contact eczema, orthoergic contact eczema and constitutional (atopic) eczema. By far the most common is orthoergic contact eczema. This type is not caused by allergy, but by irritation, from contact with irritants. Examples of iirtants include water (the main irritant), soap, washing-up liquid, detergent, vegetable and meat juices, and lubricating and cutting oil. Cold and low humidity also promote irritation of the skin and orthoergic contact eczema. It is mainly seen in housewives, health care workers who often have to wash their hands, hairdressers, and cooks. Atopic individuals (atopy = hereditary predisposition to eczema, asthma and hay fever) are more prone to this type of eczema because they have dry skin. The eczema often gets worse in the winter due to the cold, especially with a harsh easterly wind.

The proposal to appoint me an honorary member was put to the vote and was accepted unanimously by the General Assembly. Thomas called me on Friday evening June 10 to tell me the good news and to congratulate me. I am very grateful to Thomas for his initiative and his kindness and will always remain grateful.

It is remarkable that nothing at all about honorary members can be found on the website of the ESCD www.escd.org. I asked Society's the secretary about it and received a brief reply with the names of the honorary members; I think there are 8 in total.

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