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Food Chem Toxicol. 2007 Jan;45(1):93-7. Epub 2006 Aug 30.

Transdermal absorption of the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid is enhanced by both ethanol consumption and sunscreen application.

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Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare and Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, Walgreen's Building-SB521, 2650 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201, United States.


Xenobiotics absorption is a health concern and skin is a major exposure site for many of these chemicals. Both alcohol consumption and topical sunscreen application act as transdermal penetration enhancers for model xenobiotics. The effect of combining these two treatments on transdermal absorption of the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was therefore examined. Skin from rats ingesting low (1.5 g/kg) medium (4.3 g/kg) or high (6 g/kg) ethanol doses or saline control was treated with a commercially available sunscreen containing titanium dioxide and octyl methoxycinnimate and transdermal absorption of 2,4-D was monitored. Ethanol increased penetration by a factor of 1.9, 2.0 and 2.5 for animals treated with 1.5, 4.3 and 6 g/kg respectively, demonstrating an ethanol-induced dose response. Sunscreen application to skin from ethanol gavaged rats caused 2,4-D absorption above that induced by ethanol alone by an additional factor of 1.3, 2.1 and 2.9 for 1.5, 4.3 and 6 g/kg respectively. Comparing 2,4-D transdermal absorption after exposure to both ethanol and sunscreen with a theoretical value (sum of penetration after ethanol or sunscreen treatment) demonstrates that these two treatments enhance additively at the higher doses tested. Results of this study emphasize the importance of limiting excessive alcohol consumption in individuals with potential herbicide exposure rather than discouraging the use of sunscreens, since the consequences of UV-induced skin cancer are far more series than the risks that would be associated with observed increases in chemical exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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