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In Vitro Model for Decontamination of Human Skin
By: Hongbo Zhai, MD, University of California; and Howard I. Maibach, MD, University of California School of Medicine
Posted: April 1, 2009, from the April 2009 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
* Reprinted from H Zhai, S Barbadillo, X Hui and HI Maibach, In vitro model for decontamination of human skin: Formaldehyde, Food and Chemical Toxicology 45(4) 618-21; with permission from Elsevier Ltd. (Copyright 2007).
Howard I. Maibach, MD, is professor of dermatology at the University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco. His laboratory has been interested in, and has published extensively on, dermatopharmacology and dermatotoxicology. Hongbo Zhai, MD, is an associate research dermatologist at the Department of Dermatology of the University of California at San Francisco. He has more than two decades of experience in the prevention of contact dermatitis and development of skin disease-related products in collaboration with many global pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies. He has published more than 100 scientific articles in his research areas and was the 2003 winner of the international Niels Hjorth Prize for original, unpublished papers in contact dermatology.
Decontamination of a chemical from skin is often an emergency measure. The present study utilized an in vitro model to compare the decontamination capacity of three model decontaminant solutions: tap water, isotonic saline and hypertonic saline. Human cadaver skin samples were dosed with radio-labeled [14C]-formaldehyde and the surface skin of each sample was washed after each exposure with one of the three model decontaminant solutions.
After washing, the skin was stripped with tape discs and the wash solutions, strippings, receptor fluid and remainder of skin were counted to measure the amount of formaldehyde present. An evaporation test was also conducted to monitor the percentage of formaldehyde evaporation.
The percentage of formaldehyde evaporation increased linearly with extending application times and the data suggests that isotonic saline may be effective in removing formaldehyde from skin, as the authors show here. This model may accelerate researchers’ knowledge of decontamination mechanisms and thus lead to enhanced efficacy.