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Particle penetration through intact skin and a method for determining potential exposure through surface contamination.
McCawley-M; Tinkle-S; Berakis-M; Kent-M
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2001 Jun; :71
Results from studies of intact skin samples have shown that particles less than one micrometer in size are capable of penetrating intact skin. This occurs when the skin is flexed, but is not seen when particles are placed on stationary samples. This mechanical transport is capable of moving the particles through the stratum corneum and into the epidermis and dermis. In these latter layers of the skin, particles are potentially available for recognition by the immune system. This may have implications for any immunological disease and is of particular concern for chronic beryllium disease (CBD) as well as latex sensitivity. To determine the potential for exposure from surface contamination we used a personal impactor operated at 20 liters per minute with only the seventh stage and final filter. The calibration cowl was used with the impactor to provide a 0.5 cm opening and sufficient vacuum to remove particles from surfaces. Particles collected in this way on the final filter were less than one micrometer. Not only were solid surfaces and soiled clothing found to contain measurable amounts of submicrometer beryllium in beryllium manufacturing facilities, but washed clothing and surfaces, especially fabric surfaces, in presumably clean office areas also contained measurable amounts of beryllium. This may help explain the occurrence of CBD in office workers in the beryllium industry.
Skin; Particulates; Immune-system; Beryllium-disease; Beryllium-compounds; Exposure-levels; Nanotechnology
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division