A survey in 21 small metal factories in Singapore revealed that 6.6% of 751 workers (530 male, 221 female) had a skin disorder on their hands and arms. Dermatitis accounted for 4.5% (34 cases) and follicular rashes for 1% (8 cases). Positive patch tests were found in 23% (8 cases) of those with dermatitis and in 9.8% (21 workers) of a control group without any skin problem. Dermatitis was found to be associated with exposure to solvents. Simultaneous analysis of various exposure/risk factors by multiple logistic regression indicated a significant effect of combined exposure to oils and solvents (interaction). Being over 35 years of age was also a significant risk factor, whereas the role of contact allergy, detected by patch testing, was less pronounced.