The European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC) published a report on March 26, 2013 on chemical risks arising from dermal exposures.
While two of the traditional routes of exposure, namely inhalation and ingestion, have been extensively studied for many chemicals, dermal exposure has long been neglected. The “Evaluation of Systemic Health Effects Following Dermal Exposure to Chemicals” report proposes a decision tree approach and focuses mostly on dermal exposure risks occurring at the workplace. Yet, it is also considered useful for less experienced researchers and for risks that are not of occupational nature. The three linked decision trees outlined in the report include a derivation of health-based reference value, initial risk characterization and a refined risk characterization and shall be useful in identifying data gaps. The approach might add to complete chemical risk assessment for chemical exposure via multiple routes, as may be the case for chemicals used both in food contact materials and other applications that expose the consumer via the dermal route. Information on health risks arising from dermal exposure is required under the European Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances (REACH) legislation.