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NIOSH Safety and Health Topic:

Skin Exposures & Effects

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Skin Exposures & Effects

woman smelling flowers, latex gloves, chef cooking over hot grill

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What's New
NIOSH Alerts
NIOSH Hazard Controls & Reviews
Related NIOSH/CDC Pages
Other Resources

skin illustration


Skin Permeation Calculator
This Java- based calculator estimates the value of kp from an aqueous vehicle using three different models: Frasch, Potts & Guy and Modified Robinson.

Upcoming Conferences:

OEESC 2009 conference logo

Occupational and Environmental Exposures of Skin to Chemicals - 2009

June 14-17, 2009
Edinburgh, UK
The fourth meeting in a series to foster multidisciplinary discussions on the prevention of harmful effects caused by exposure of skin to chemicals. Visit the conference website to find out more –

Skin Information


NIOSHTIC-2 search results on Skin Exposures and Effects
NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable bibliographic database of occupational safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.

NIOSH Alerts

NIOSH Alert: Preventing Allergic Reactions to Natural Rubber Latex in the Workplace
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-135 (June 1997)
Presents existing data and describes six case reports of workers who developed latex allergy.

NIOSH Alert: Preventing Asthma in Animal Handlers
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-116 (January 1998)
Describes three case reports of workers affected by exposures to animals. Includes recommendations to help reduce exposures and prevent animal-induced asthma and allergies.


Chemical Protective Clothing (CPC) Database
February 1998 NTIS No. PB98-137730
NIOSH recommendations for Chemical Protective Clothing (CPC) for workers and employers.

NIOSH Hazard Controls & Reviews

NIOSH Hazard Controls: Control of Spotting Chemical Hazards in Commercial Dry cleaning
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-158
Describes controls such as ventilation, isolation, and personal protective equipment to prevent dermatitis from chronic or acute exposure. Also see the set of Hazard Control documents for perchloroethylene in dry cleaning:
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-154,
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-155
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-156, and
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-157

NIOSH Hazard Controls: Controlling Chemical Hazards During the Application of Artificial Fingernails
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 99-112 (January 1999)
Descrtibes ventilated tables and other controls to prevent contact dermatitis from MMA and EMA.

NIOSH Hazard Review: Carbonless Copy Paper
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-107 (December, 2000)
Includes recommendations for preventing or reducing exposure to carbonless copy paper to prevent symptoms of skin irritation and irritation of the mucosal membranes of the eyes and upper respiratory tract.

Related NIOSH/CDC Pages

NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Bloodborne Infectious Disease

NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Protective Clothing

Choose Your Cover
CDC's skin cancer prevention initiative.

Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Occupational Exposure to Metalworking Fluids
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-102 (January 1998)
PDF 750 KB (17 pages)
Reviews available information about the adverse health effects associated with occupational exposure to metalworking fluids and aerosols.

Glutaraldehyde: Occupational Hazards in Hospitals
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2001-115 (May 2001)
Includes adverse health effects of glutaraldehyde, describes how one can be exposed, and identifies control methods and work practices to prevent or reduce exposures.

Health Hazard Evaluations (HHEs) NIOSH Topic Page
Learn about these NIOSH investigations into health hazards in workplaces and search HHE reports for such words as "skin" and "derma*."

International Chemical Safety Cards (ICSCs)
Summarizes essential health and safety information on chemicals for their use at the "shop floor" level by workers and employers. Includes information related to skin as an exposure route and resulting effects. NIOSH makes a version available as U.S. National Cards.

NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Latex Allergy

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards

Exposure limits, Respirator Recommendations, First Aid, more... The Pocket Guide is a source of general industrial hygiene information on several hundred chemicals/classes found in the work environment. Key data provided for each chemical/substance includes name (including synonyms/trade names), structure/formula, CAS/RTECS Numbers, DOT ID, conversion factors, exposure limits, IDLH, chemical and physical properties, measurement methods, and respirator recommendations. Entries contain information related to skin exposures and effects in the form of skin notations and in sections on personal protection and sanitation recommendations and information on health hazards including route, symptoms, first aid and target organs.

NORA Allergic and Irritant Dermatitis Team
Working to create an occupational health research agenda for the nation.

Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS)
A compendium of toxicological data extracted from the open scientific literature. Data on skin irritation and skin as an exposure route are included.

What You Need to Know About Occupational Exposure to Metalworking Fluids
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 98-116 (March 1998)
PDF 239 KB (44 pages)
Contains a critical review of the scientific and technical information available on the extent and type of health hazards associated with metalworking fluids and the adequacy of control methods.

Worker Health Chartbook
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2004-146
Provides data on the magnitude and trends by industry and occupation as well as numbers and rates among states for dermatitis and other skin disorders.

Other Resources

American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS Web site)
External Link:

BAuA - German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin).
Contains a number of guidance documents for preventing skin hazards to workers. Also included on the baua site:
TRGS (German Technical Standards for Hazardous Substances)
Guidance documents relating to preventing skin hazards to workers are available. The translations jointly prepared by NIOSH and BAuA are available from this site. The following are English translations of some TRGS:
TRGS 500 on General Requirements

TRGS 710 - Biomonitoring
PDF 27 KB (8 pages)
TRGS 530 - Hairdressers
PDF 82 KB (3 pages)
RGS 531 - Wet Work. PDF 23 KB (7 pages)
External Link:

Dermatology (DermIS Web site)
Searchable database for dermatological diagnoses.
External Link:

EPA Dermal Exposure Assessment: Principles and Applications (US EPA Web site)
Information applicable to water, air and soil exposures.
External Link:

EPA Interim Guidance for Superfund - (US EPA Web site)
Detailed risk assessment guidance for skin exposures to soil and water.
External Link:

EPA Exposure Factors Handbook (US EPA Web site)
Provides data on skin surface area and soil adherence to skin.
External Link:

EPA Health Effects Test Guidelines: Skin Sensitization (US EPA Web site)
Local Lymph Node Assay (LLNA) is a preferred alternative to the Guinea Pig Maximization Test and Buehler Test, where applicable.
PDF 39 KB (15 Pages)
External Link:

EPA Proposed Rule for In Vitro Dermal Absorption Testing (US EPA Web site)
Proposed test procedures for eighty chemicals of interest to OSHA.
External Link:

EPA Summary Report for the Workshop on Issues Associated with Dermal Exposure and Uptake (US EPA Web site)
Workshop summary addresses generic technical issues related to dermal exposure and risk assessment that were raised during the February 1998 peer review of the Superfund Dermal Guidance (SDG).
External Link:

HEROX (Human Exposure Research Organizations Exchange Web site)
A forum for people interested in research on human exposure to hazardous substances.
External Link:

Journal of Investigative Dermatology (JID Web site)
External Link:

OSHA Dermal Exposure Site (OSHA Web site)
External Link:

Skin Cancer Updates - (The American Academy of Dermatology Web site)
External Link:

Skin Cancer Foundation - (Foundation Web site)
Mission of preventing skin cancer and controlling the epidemic
External Link:

Interactive log Kow (KowWin) Demo (Syracuse Research Corporation Web site)
Skin Permeation modeling, Oil-Water Partition Coefficient.
External Link:

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