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A Toolkit for Dermal Risk Assessment and Management: An Overview

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Author: Oppl, R. · Kalberlah, F. · Evans, P.G. · Hemmen, J.J. van
Institution: TNO Voeding
Source:Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 8, 47, 629-640
Identifier: 237376
doi: doi:10.1093/annhyg/meg069
Keywords: Chemistry Health · Food and Chemical Risk Analysis · Dermal exposure · Exposure assessment · Skin exposure · Dermatitis · Exposure controls · Health risks · Industrial chemicals · Industrial hygiene · Industrial research · Project management · Occupational risks · Industrial chemical · Algorithm · Controlled study · Decision making · Experimental model · Health hazard · Instrumentation · Review · Skin penetration · Humans · Models, Theoretical · Occupational Exposure · Risk Assessment · Risk Management · Skin · Skin Absorption


The European Research project RISKOFDERM (QLK4-CT-1999-01107) has two major goals. One is the development of a conceptual model for dermal risk assessment for regulatory purposes, such as the registration of new chemicals. The other goal is to develop a simple-to-use toolkit for assessment and management of health risks from occupational dermal exposure. This toolkit was constructed by analysing the major determinants of dermal hazard and dermal exposure. The results were combined in the form of a decision-tree that leads the user of the toolkit through a number of questions on the hazardous properties of the chemical in use, and on the exposure situation. The toolkit translates the information given by the user into broad data categories of hazard and exposure that lead to a rough estimate of health risk from dermal exposure. This is done separately for local skin effects and skin allergy on the one hand, and systemic effects after skin penetration on the other hand. After going through the decision-tree, the user is advised to act to control the risk, and to read general information on dermal exposure and a statement describing the uncertainty of the risk estimate produced by the toolkit. The final version of the toolkit will be available for use on portable or stationary computers and runs the decision algorithms in the background so that the non-expert user only will see the judgements, the recommendations and the general information. The toolkit will be evaluated before release by experts on the various elements included in the toolkit and by field experts in its practical use. The toolkit is an attempt to adapt elements of exact science to a situation where the necessary input data are of limited quality and are only estimates. The toolkit does not claim to give precise answers based on imprecise information. The purpose is to enable the user to estimate the order of magnitude of hazard, exposure and risk, and to encourage the user to deal with the issues of dermal hazard, exposure and control.