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J Appl Toxicol. 2015 May;35(5):520-8. doi: 10.1002/jat.3056. Epub 2014 Sep 4.

Skin absorption of six performance amines used in metalworking fluids.

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Ecole Polytech Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Sophia-Antipolis (06), France.


Every year, 10 million workers are exposed to metalworking fluids (MWFs) that may be toxic. There are four types of MWFs: neat oils and three water-based MWFs (soluble oil, semisynthetic and synthetic), which are diluted with water and whose composition varies according to the mineral oils ratio. MWFs also contain various additives. To determine the absorption of six amines used as corrosion inhibitors and biocides in MWFs, porcine skin flow-through diffusion cell experiments were conducted with hydrophilic ethanolamines (mono-, di- and triethanolamine, MEA, DEA and TEA respectively) and a mixture of lipophilic amines (dibutylethanolamine, dicyclohexylamine and diphenylamine). The six amines were dosed in four vehicles (water and three generic water-based MWF formulations) and analyzed using a scintillation counter or gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. These 24 h studies showed that dermal absorption significantly (P < 0.05) increased from water for the six amines (e.g. 1.15 ± 0.29% dose; DEA in water) compared to other formulations (e.g. 0.13 ± 0.01% dose; DEA in semisynthetic MWF) and absorption was greatest for dibutylethanolamine in all the formulations. The soluble oil formulation tended to increase the dermal absorption of the hydrophilic amines. The permeability coefficient was significantly higher (P < 0.05) with TEA relative to the other hydrophilic amines (e.g. 4.22 × 10(-4) ± 0.53 × 10(-4) cm h(-1) [TEA in synthetic MWF] vs. 1.23 × 10(-4) ± 0.10 × 10(-4) cm h(-1) [MEA in synthetic MWF]), except for MEA in soluble oil formulation. Future research will confirm these findings in an in vivo pig model along with dermatotoxicity studies. These results should help MWF industries choose safer additives for their formulations to protect the health of metalworkers.


biocide; ethanolamines; flow-through diffusion cell; metalworking fluids; skin absorption

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