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Ann Occup Hyg. 2005 Oct;49(7):639-45. Epub 2005 Jul 8.

Dermal exposure to jet fuel (JP-8) in US Air Force personnel.

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Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, School of Public Health, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB #7431, Rosenau Hall, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7431, USA.


Limited research has been conducted on dermal exposure and risk assessment, owing to the lack of reliable measurement techniques and data for quantitative risk assessment. We investigated the magnitude of dermal exposure to jet propulsion fuel 8 (JP-8), using naphthalene as a surrogate, on the US Air Force fuel-cell maintenance workers. Dermal exposure of 124 workers routinely working with JP-8 was measured using a non-invasive tape-strip technique coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis. The contribution of job-related factors to dermal exposure was determined using multiple linear regression analyses. Average whole body dermal exposure to naphthalene (as a marker for JP-8) was 7.61 +/- 2.27 ln(ng m(-2)). Significant difference (P < 0.0001) between the high-exposure group [8.34 +/- 2.23 ln(ng m(-2))] and medium- and low-exposure groups [6.18 +/- 1.35 ln(ng m(-2)) and 5.84 +/- 1.34 ln(ng m(-2)), respectively] was observed reflecting the actual exposure scenarios. Skin irritation, use of booties, working inside the fuel tank and the duration of JP-8 exposure were significant factors explaining the whole body dermal exposure. This study clearly demonstrates the efficiency and suitability of the tape-strip technique for the assessment of dermal exposure to JP-8 and that naphthalene can serve as a useful marker of exposure and uptake of JP-8 and its components. It also showed that the skin provides a significant route for JP-8 exposure and that actions to reduce exposure are required. Studies to investigate the relative contribution of dermal uptake of JP-8 on total body dose and the toxicokinetics of dermal exposure to JP-8 are underway.

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