Background: Several aromatic amines (AA) may cause bladder cancer and are an occupational hygiene problem in the workplace. However, little is known about the percutaneous absorption of chemicals via impaired skin and about the efficacy of skin protection measures to reduce the internal exposure.
Aims: To determine the impact of skin status and of skin protection measures on the internal exposure of AA in workers manufacturing rubber products.
Methods: Fifty one workers occupationally exposed to aniline and o-toluidine were examined. By means of a self-administered questionnaire we assessed the workplace conditions, risk factors for skin and the use of personal protective equipment. The skin of hands and forearms was clinically examined. Exposure to aniline and o-toluidine was assessed by ambient air and biological monitoring (analyses of urine samples and of haemoglobin adducts).
Results: Haemoglobin-AA-adduct levels in workers with erythema (73%) were significant higher (p<0.04) than in workers with healthy skin (mean values: aniline 1150.4 vs. 951.7 ng/l, o-toluidine 417.9 vs. 118.3 ng/l). The multiple linear regression analysis showed that wearing of gloves reduced significantly the internal exposure. A frequent use of skin barrier creams leads to a higher internal exposure of AA (p<0.03). However, the use of skin care creams at the workplace was associated with a reduced internal exposure (p<0.03). From these findings we assume that internal exposure of the workers resulted primarily from the percutaneous uptake.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrates a significant higher internal exposure to AA in workers with impaired skin compared to workers with healthy skin. Daily wearing gloves reduced efficiently internal exposure. However, an increased use of skin barrier creams enhances the percutaneous uptake of AA. Skin care creams seem to support skin regeneration and lead to reduced percutaneous uptake.
- Biological monitoring
- Percutaneous absorption
- Skin barrier creams
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