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A comparison of surface wipe media for sampling lead on hands.

Boeniger M
J Occup Environ Hyg 2006 Aug; 3(8):428-434
Hand contamination by toxic agents such as lead presents a potentially significant health hazard to workers if the contamination is transferred to the mouth by food, smoking, or touching the mouth. One method to sample the mass of contamination on hands is to wipe the skin and analyze the wipe media for the analyte. Several commercially available, prewetted wipe media were evaluated and compared. The Palintest and Wash'n Dri media are made of cellulose fiber; the Ghost wipe is made of a nonwoven polyvinyl alcohol fiber. ASTM test method E1792 for surface lead sampling provides some specified minimum requirements and some general, nonspecific criteria that these media should meet. However, no objective determination of the performance or characteristics of these different wiping media were found in the open literature for sampling lead on hands, particularly relating to typical collection efficiency. To test the recovery of lead oxide dust collected from two hands, two different loading levels were used for each wipe medium. Four successive wipes were collected and analyzed individually. The results of this study indicate that only about 52-62% of the total lead loading is recovered with the first wipe, but that up to 75% recovery could be obtained by combining all three successive wipes. This study also describes testing several physical aspects of these wipes that included tensile strength, wetness, and drying rate, which are characteristics that are not specified by ASTM E1792. The results indicate a higher fragility among the cellulosic wipes, less moisture content, and higher drying rates than the Ghost wipe. This information should be helpful when selecting a wipe material that is best suited for an environmental or industrial hygiene surface or skin sampling task and might also be useful for improving such media in the future.
Sampling; Sampling-methods; Lead-absorption; Lead-compounds; Lead-dust; Toxins; Health-hazards; Workers; Worker-health; Skin; Skin-absorption; Skin-irritants; Skin-exposure; Industrial-hygiene
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Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Disease and Injury: Allergic and Irritant Dermatitis
Source Name
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division