report no. 5/10

17 Aug 2010

This report serves as an update to and an extension of a previous CONCAWEreport on dermal absorption of petroleum hydrocarbons (Petroleum hydrocarbons:their absorption through and effects on the skin, CONCAWE Report 84/54, 1984). To contribute to health risk assessments associated with dermal exposure, thisreport evaluates experimental data to determine the extent to which petroleumhydrocarbons pass through the skin. These data strongly suggest that dermalexposure to petroleum hydrocarbons, even following long-term exposures such asin occupational settings, will not cause systemic toxicity under normal workingconditions and assuming an intact skin barrier. Skin contact with some petroleumproducts may cause skin irritation, leading to dermatitis, particularly after repeatedor prolonged exposure. In addition to these irritating effects, the skin barrier functionmay be affected following repeated contact with petroleum hydrocarbons, makingthe skin potentially more susceptible to other irritants, sensitizing agents, andbacteria. In addition, the impaired skin barrier may lead to increased dermalpenetration of hydrocarbons and other substances. To avoid this there is a need tominimise skin contact.