Measurement of percutaneous uptake of 2-methoxy ethanol vapor in humans

Tung Sheng Shih, Peng Yau Wang, Cheng Yao Chen, Thomas J. Smith, Yoa Pu Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Absorption of vapors through skin has been largely ignored in occupational health, although for ethylene glycol ethers this route of exposure could be more important than inhalation. We used an automated concentration and humidity controlled system to measure real-time percutaneous absorption of 2-methoxy ethanol (ME) vapor in seven volunteers. The exposure concentration (300 ± 10 ppm or 25 ± 0.5 ppm), humidity (80 ± 2%), and temperature (27.5 ± 0.5°C) were controlled throughout the experiments. Uptakes during 4-hour single-arm exposure at 25 ppm and 300 ppm were 7.0 mg and 65.3 ± 25.0 mg, respectively, with corresponding uptake rates of 1.36 μg/cm2/hr and 13.2 ± 5.0 μg/cm2/hr. Percutaneous absorption was consistent and unsaturated during exposure. Because the permeability constant of ME vapor (14.0 ± 5.3 cm/hr) was much higher than that of many widely used organic chemicals, we concluded that vapor absorption through skin is a significant contributor to overall ME exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-482
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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