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Application of data from animal toxicity testing and alternative methods in assignment of skin notations.

Chen C; Ahlers H; Boeniger M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2004 May; :62
Skin notations (SNs) are the primary mechanism to warn of potential health hazards from skin exposures at the workplace. In theory, the SN is established based on the potential contribution of a chemical substance to causing systemic toxicity by way of dermal absorption. However, the SN assignment has not always strictly followed this principle, and inconsistent criteria have been used in the process, partly due to the limited availability of data reporting skin exposures and consequent health effects. To reduce the misuse and enhance clarity, SNs need to be assigned following standardized criteria using scientifically reliable information. Based on the prevailing methods of evaluating health effects resulting from skin exposure and the abundance of pertinent data, we designed a strategy to improve SNs by accommodating both the conventional concept of the skin as a route of absorption contributing to systemic toxicity and the concern of the skin itself being a target organ. In this design, SNs are structured into three distinct classes for use independently or in conjunction to indicate: (1) hazards of systemic toxicity due to dermal absorption; (2) hazards of direct effect(s) on skin including primary irritation, corrosion, and compromised skin barrier integrity; and (3) hazards of allergic contact dermatitis in exposed workers or sensitization of mucous membranes due to skin exposure. For a chemical to receive one of these labels, the evaluation for assignment must consider data demonstrating the presence of adverse effect(s) from skin exposure, including reports of clinical/field observations, results of animal studies following scientifically validated protocols, and data from alternative methods such as in vitro bioassays and estimation algorithms based on quantitative structure-activity relationships. This presentation will introduce the transformation of these methods into operational criteria for application in the SN assignment.
Laboratory-animals; Animals; Animal-studies; Skin-exposure; Health-hazards; Skin-absorption; Skin-irritants; Contact-dermatitis; Dermatitis; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Sensitization; Mucous-membranes; Dermal-exposure; Dermal-absorption
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Allergic and Irritant Dermatitis
Source Name
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 8-13, 2004, Atlanta, Georgia
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division