Surface Contamination


A "skin" designation serves as a warning that cutaneous absorption should be prevented in order to avoid exceeding the absorbed dose received by inhalation at the permissible exposure level (PEL). The skin designation which appears with some of the chemical hazards in 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1 is only given to a substance, which may be absorbed through the skin. The use of skin designation does not indicate that the substance may irritate the skin. Similarly, lack of a skin designation does not mean that the substance will not irritate the skin. Biological monitoring can be utilized for some substances to determine the relative contribution of dermal exposure to the total dose.


There is currently no surface contamination criteria or quantifications for skin absorption included in OSHA standards. However, some specific OSHA standards contain housekeeping provisions that address the issue of surface contamination. Exposures to various chemical components are addressed in specific OSHA standards for general industry and construction.

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Hazards and Solutions

Provides references that aid in recognizing and controlling surface contamination.

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Evaluating Exposure

Provides information about evaluating surface contamination hazards in the workplace.

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Additional Resources

Provides links and references to additional resources related to surface contamination hazards in the workplace.

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