Efficiencies of Gloves, Barrier Creams, and Skin Care Products against Metalworking Fluids

Abstract No:


Abstract Type:

Professional Poster 


S Tsai1


1National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan


Dr. Shih-Wei Tsai  
National Taiwan University


A Vertical Diffusion Cell (VDC) system was applied in this study to determine the permeation parameters of chemicals in MWFs through skin absorption. With a SPME procedure, advantages over conventional method, such as solvent-free and time-saving, were reached. With the findings of this study, suggestions were made to the workers on how to protect from possible skin exposures.

Situation / Problem:

The main task in a metalworking factory is to process the metal products, which involves the use of metalworking fluids (MWFs) to lubricate and cool the tools and metal pieces. However, due to its complex ingredients, there are many potential health hazards with the use of MWFs. For example, it has been reported from various literatures that the exposures of MWFs are highly associated with the occurrences of contact dermatitis.


This study focused on chemicals (e.g., formaldehyde, amines, etc.) in the metalworking fluids that might cause skin exposures. Parameters, including chemical compositions and contact conditions (e.g., whether gloves and barrier cream were in use or not), were examined to elucidate their effects on skin absorption. In addition, the Hanson vertical diffusion cell (VDC) was used to simulate the common situation of workers' skin exposures. Finally, all the samples were pretreated and analyzed by the solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and triple quadruple gas chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (GC/MS/MS). Questionnaires were administrated to the metalworkers to collect the information regarding the disease history of contact dermatitis, work conditions and related symptoms.

Results / Conclusions:

A percutaneous diffusion cell has been used to evaluate the skin protection efficiencies under 10 different exposure scenarios for 11 various chemicals. From the questionnaires, nearly half of the metalworkers had symptoms of skin abnormality. Nearly all the metalworkers used gloves for protection and none of them had the experience of using barrier creams. The dermal exposure assessment results suggested that permeation occurred shortly after the exposure when the MWFs contacted skin directly. The use of nitrile glove, which is recommended by NIOSH, was found to lower the amounts permeated significantly as well as to extend the lag time for permeation. However, for mechanical safety reason, glove wearing might not be allowed for certain operations. Under those circumstances, it was observed that applying barrier creams could also protect the skin from possible exposures with the permeated amounts lowered 28~100%. The SPME procedure coupled with GC/MS/MS analysis for the determination of chemicals in the PBS solution was established in this study. The permeability, including flux and Kp (permeation coefficient), for chemicals through skin were different with various protective measures.

Primary Topic:

Personal Protective Clothing & Equipment

Secondary Topics:

Exposure Assessment Strategies
Sampling and Analysis

Acknowledgements and References

List any additional people who worked on the project or provided guidance and support along with details on the role they played in the research. (Please include first name, last name, organization, city, state and country).

1. Yu-Jou Lin, Institute of Environmental Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, TAIWAN
2. Yu-Chen Liu, Institute of Environmental Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, TAIWAN
3. Yu-Chen Lee, Institute of Environmental Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, TAIWAN

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