|<< Back to Dermal Exposure
- The resulting measured levels of contaminant can be used in several ways,
several of which are presented in Tables 3a
Most of the following calculations would apply equally well to pads placed
either outside of clothing or inside. The example given in these tables is
for deposited dose inside the clothing and is simply called
- The first example is to calculate the dermal deposition density. To do
this, the total mass of contaminant found during analysis (column B, which
may or may not be adjusted for collection efficiency) is divided by the
surface area of the pad(s) at each body location (column C).
- In the example, pairs of 28 cm² dosimeters were used at most
locations except for the chest and back (which had only one pad) and the
hands which used gloves.
- Glove dosimeters are treated like a full body dosimeter; the area
of the dosimeters corresponds to the body area covered as shown near
the bottom of columns C and D.
- Dermal deposition density (column E) is useful without further
modification to assess the risk of dermatitis. However, there is no
rationale for adding these density values.
- To calculate someone's total dermal deposition (column F), it is
necessary to assume that the deposition density on the local body part
is accurately represented by the deposition density measured on the
dosimeter. A set of standard body surface areas is typically used such
as reported in column D. Such an assumption allows the local dermal
deposition to be calculated by the following proportion:
||= Chemical Mass x
- The validity of this assumption can be qualitatively judged based on
observation of the setting. There is as yet no quantitative test for
deposition uniformity. A semi-quantitative judgment can be made by
comparing the proportion of dose measured at each location among
different users doing nominally similar tasks. Some variation is
expected in both the distribution and total of all locations.
- The cited example found intra-personal variation in total dose was
± 2x. However, when trying to measure very low doses of
antimicrobial chemicals applied in industrial settings, geometric
deviations ranged from 4x to 9x.(15)
The variation in localized deposition is probably greater when the
physical doses (later called equivalent dose) are smaller and
contributed to the larger geometric deviations.
- Because variability interferes with identifying important
inter-personal differences in work practices, it may require some
replication in measurements to establish a reliable central tendency
such as a mean or geometric mean or an estimate of clothing
- Patterns of inter-location differences are quite discernable and
inter-personal differences were statistically significant even with
only four replicate measures(8);
EPA usually requests 12-15 replicates for product registration data.
- If dosimeters were only placed outside the clothing, then an
assumption would also need to be made as to how much of that
"potential dose" would have penetrated the worker's clothing.
The cited study reported 3 to 7% penetration (the results of outside
pads are not shown herein). The inter-location distribution of the
dermal dose will allow one to interpret the impact of hypothetical
changes in work practices or protective clothing on the user's total
- It is also only at this stage and beyond that the set of dermal
depositions at each location can be meaningfully added to yield a total.
- The total dose to the cited mixer-loader is 29 mg of the measured
- As can be seen in Tables 3a
hands were the major site of deposition because no gloves were worn.
The data indicates that had protective gloves been worn (assume for
the moment that hand doses were near zero), the upper legs would
have been the next major site of skin deposition for these
mixer-loaders; the same could also be said for applicators, although
head and lower arms were also major contributors.
- This scenario suggests the next most important change in work
methods or protective clothing beyond gloves if the total dose is
judged to be too large.
- One additional common step is to compare the dermal dose to the
airborne dose. This comparison can include adjustment factors for both
dermal adsorption and/or for respiratory retention that which is usually
also well less than 100% either for particles (where the site of
deposition and retention varies by particle size) or for gases and
vapors (where retention varies by chemical).
- As a first approximation, nominal doses or dose rates are often
compared without adjustments. The nominal airborne dose can be
calculated by multiplying the airborne concentration (in mg/m³)
times the respiratory minute volume (Lpm or the equivalent m³/hr)
times the exposure duration.
- Typical respiratory minute volumes are 21 Lpm (corresponding to 10
m³/8-hours for light work rates) or 30 Lpm for moderate work. Thus
far, most reported comparisons have involved low volatility
compounds and ratio of nominal dermal doses to airborne doses is on
the order of 100:1.
- The remaining steps are various options to adjust or normalize the
data for some denominator common across multiple settings.
- One option is to divide by the amount of material applied or used
during the assessment; for instance, mg dose per kg or pound
- A more common practice, used particularly in the agricultural
pesticide sector is to divide by the duration of the assessment to
calculate the dose rate (mg/hr in Table
3a column G).
Deposition Rate (mg/hr)
- The final option if the measured chemical is part of a mixture
(e.g. diluted with water or impregnated on an inert particulate
carrier) is to adjust the amount of measured chemical to the
equivalent amount of the entire solution or solid matrix that would
have been deposited.
Dermal Deposition (mg or g)
- Equivalent dose is useful to compare results if data are collected
in settings in which the solution concentrations vary or to apply
results from one mixture to another mixture at a different
- In the latter case, the known equivalent dermal deposition
would be multiplied times the new concentration to yield
exposures or doses expected in the new setting.(15, 16)
The equivalent dose of formulated product for mixer-loaders
(labeled dust in column H of Table
3a) is not much different than the dose of active ingredient
because the concentration of the measured active ingredient was
80% of the compound being used and deposited.
- However, in the second cited case (Table
3b) where the measured chemical comprised only 0.12% of the
aqueous mixture to which the associated spray applicator was
exposed, the resulting equivalent dose is most appropriately
expressed in grams of mist (although a portion of the dose could
have come indirectly from contaminated surfaces).