Cement is a hazardous substance and can cause ill health in a number of ways. Wet cement can cause cement burns, which can be severe, due to its highly alkaline nature (pH 12-13). Cement can also cause irritant and/or allergic contact dermatitis. Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by sensitisation of the skin to chromium in the cement. Once a person has become sensitised, any future exposure may trigger dermatitis. Some skilled tradesmen have been forced to change their trade because of this.
Cement dust is also a respiratory irritant and inhalation should be avoided.