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Toxicological principles for an improved hazard notation system to protect workers from dermal exposures.

Maier-A; Gadagbui-B; Dotson-G
Toxicologist 2010 Mar; 114(1):381
To alert workers and employers of potential health hazards arising from skin contact with chemicals the traditional practice has been to assign qualitative hazard designations called skin notations to indicate that a substance has the potential to be percutaneously absorbed, and thus affect the interpretation of inhalation-based occupational exposure limits. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has developed a new strategy for assigning skin notations capable of providing a warning beyond percutaneous absorption and to address the limitations associated with the historical approach used for assigning skin notations. The new strategy provides guidance for the systematic application of a weight-of-evidence approach. This includes critically evaluating available data (i.e., human, animal, in vivo, in vitro, and mathematical predictions) to assign multiple hazard-specific skin notations (SK) capable of clearly distinguishing between systemic effects, direct effects, and immune-mediated responses. This presentation will provide an overview of the new NIOSH strategy with emphasis on issues encountered during the evaluation of 140+ chemicals including 1) assigning a systemic effects notation where data or model predictions indicate absorption, but no or only limited dermal toxicity data are available; 2) differentiating among irritant severity levels when relying on qualitative studies that used different material dilutions and test systems; and 3) developing notations for sensitization when limited human studies and standard animal assays provide conflicting results. The lessons learned in evaluating such problematic data sets provide the basis for refining weight-of-evidence evaluation approaches for hazard notations.
Airborne-particles; Biochemistry; Biological-effects; Chemical-hypersensitivity; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Inhalants; Inhalation-studies; Mathematical-models; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Particulates; Qualitative-analysis; Risk-analysis; Risk-factors; Skin; Skin-disorders; Skin-exposure; Skin-irritants; Skin-sensitivity; Statistical-analysis; Work-areas; Work-environment; Worker-health; Workplace-studies
Publication Date
Document Type
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Source Name
The Toxicologist. Society of Toxicology 49th Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, March 7-11, 2010, Salt Lake City, Utah
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division