Semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) are ubiquitous in the indoor environment and a priority for exposure assessment because of the environmental health concerns that they pose. Direct air-to-skin dermal uptake has been shown to be comparable to the inhalation intake for compounds with certain chemical properties. In this study, we aim to further understand the transport of these types of chemicals through the skin, specifically through the stratum corneum (SC). Our assessment is based on collecting three sequential forehead skin wipes, each hypothesized to remove pollutants from successively deeper skin layers, and using these wipe analyses to determine the skin concentration profiles. The removal of SVOCs with repeated wipes reveals the concentration profiles with depth and provides a way to characterize penetration efficiency and potential transfer to blood circulation. We used a diffusion model applied to surface skin to simulate concentration profiles of SVOCs and compared them with the measured values. We found that two phthalates, dimethyl and diethyl phthalates, penetrate deeper into skin with similar exposure compared to other phthalates and targeted SVOCs, an observation supported by the model results as well. We also report the presence of statistically significant declining patterns with skin depth for most SVOCs, indicating that their diffusion through the SC is relevant and eventually can reach the blood vessels in the vascularized dermis. Finally, using a nontarget approach, we identified skin oxidation products, linked to respiratory irritation symptoms, formed from the reaction between ozone and squalene.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry