Dermal absorption of chemicals

The factsheet regards exposure to chemicals by dermal absorption.  

Chemicals, even if not irritating and corrosive, may be absorbed in significant amounts through large contact areas of non-damaged skin: their systemic toxic effects cannot be prevented only by environmental monitoring; besides, damaged skin requires more precautions.

The factsheet contains:

  1. methods for assessing the capacity of a chemical to penetrate through the skin:
    • in vitro (Franz cells) 
    • in vivo (experiments  with "peeled" animals; experiments with volunteers through application and removal with tape stripping, “disappearance” method, application and measurement of excretion);
  2. methods of skin absorption (based on histological features of the skin);
  3. factors that influence the cutaneous absorption (chemical and physical characteristics of the substance, characteristics of the skin, type and duration of exposure, the extension of the exposed skin area, temperature, humidity, physical activity);
  4. the sequence of events that leads to skin absorption;
  5. methods for assessing dermal exposure:
    • direct (washing, skin wiping, tear removal)
    • indirect (surfaces wiping); 
  6. normative references.



Dermal absorption of chemicals (italian version)

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Barbara Manfredi, Elisabetta Badellino, Francesca R. Mignacca
INAIL, Istituto Nazionale per l’Assicurazione contro gli Infortuni sul Lavoro, Direzione Centrale Prevenzione
Piazzale Giulio Pastore 6
00144 Roma
Tel: (+39) 0654872111-2083