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An overall risk/benefit analysis relative to the use of chemical protective clothing for protection from potentially harmful chemicals must ultimately consider the barrier effectiveness of the skin to the chemicals in question. For example, there may be cases in which some permeation of chemical through the clothing is tolerable if the skin itself is unaffected by and acts as a barrier to the chemical. An overview of the structure of skin, methods for assessing skin permeation, and examples of published data are presented. The article is directed toward those with little or no knowledge of chemical permeation through skin and provides references for further research.
skin, permeation, protective clothing, chemicals
Unit leader, Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, MA