Dermal uptake of phthalates from clothing: Comparison of model to human participant results

G. C. Morrison, Charles J. Weschler, G. Beko

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In this research, we extend a model of transdermal uptake of phthalates to include a layer of clothing. When compared with experimental results, this model better estimates dermal uptake of diethylphthalate and di-n-butylphthalate (DnBP) than a previous model. The model predictions are consistent with the observation that previously exposed clothing can increase dermal uptake over that observed in bare-skin participants for the same exposure air concentrations. The model predicts that dermal uptake from clothing of DnBP is a substantial fraction of total uptake from all sources of exposure. For compounds that have high dermal permeability coefficients, dermal uptake is increased for (i) thinner clothing, (ii) a narrower gap between clothing and skin, and (iii) longer time intervals between laundering and wearing. Enhanced dermal uptake is most pronounced for compounds with clothing-air partition coefficients between 104 and 107. In the absence of direct measurements of cotton cloth-air partition coefficients, dermal exposure may be predicted using equilibrium data for compounds in equilibrium with cellulose and water, in combination with computational methods of predicting partition coefficients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)642-649
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Absorption
  • Exposure
  • Fabric
  • Model
  • Semivolatile organic compounds
  • Skin


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