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Abstract

Percutaneous absorption has received little attention in occupational health, although this route of entry has repeatedly caused occupation-related intoxications. The evaluation of skin penetration rates is complex. Much evidence has been obtained from studies of chemicals used for cosmetics and topical therapeutics. The information available on compounds encountered in occupational health is limited. The data obtained from experimental studies have confirmed that the concentration, type of vehicle, skin area, skin condition, and extent of occlusion are important factors in determining the degree of percutaneous absorption, but no general model has been developed. Little is known about the basic chemical properties governing the rate of penetration. Current preventive practice follows the procedure used by ACGIH and is mainly based on a "skin" denotation in official listings of chemicals to which exposure limits have been allocated. The number of substances and groups of chemicals which have received skin denotation in 17 selected countries varies between 24 and 179, and a total of 275 are listed as a skin hazard in one or more countries; ACGIH list 143. As a result of these discrepancies and the dichotomy of skin denotation, the absence of skin denotation may erroneously indicate that efforts to protect the skin are unnecessary. An evaluation of skin penetration potentials should be incorporated in occupational health practice.

Additional information

Authors: GRANDJEAN P, Odense University, Odense (DK);BERLIN A, CEC (LU);GILBERT M, UNEP-IRPIC, Genève (CH);PENNING W, JRC Ispra Estab. (IT)
Bibliographic Reference: Article: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol. 14 (1988) pp. 97-100
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