Category Archives: Chemical Exposures

From Hand to Mouth – Workers Need to Concerned About Chemical Safety

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The inadvertent and dermal conceptual model

Today’s post comes from guest author Jon Gelman from Jon Gelman, LLC – Attorney at Law in New Jersey.

As workers gear up for the new year, I think it’s a good idea to take a step back to think about what went well in 2012 and what could have gone better. Did you take any risks or shortcuts that put your safety in jeopardy? We are human, so there is much error involved, but I would encourage you to slow down in 2013 and think about the safety equipment and attitude you need to do each job. And then make sure your employer has the resources available for being safe.

In addition to equipment and time to plan for safety, knowledge is another tool that can enhance safety! Almost every industry (even those who see themselves as office workers) uses chemicals. Have you considered how accidental “inadvertent ingestion” leading to chemical exposure can happen? Sadly, it can happen to anyone and even lead to cancer or other long-term health problems. The firm recently completed successful litigation against chemical manufacturers that provided chemicals to a local plant where industrial solutions were used to make rubber products. One of the inadvertent ways the workers were exposed to the chemicals was through the skin, as gloves were not always worn when handling the industrial solutions. So please be aware and be safe in 2013!

A recently published a paper about the inadvertent ingestion of chemicals at work from contact between the mouth and contaminated hands or objects highlights how dangerous exposure could occur at work.  The inadvertent ingestion is a potentially significant source of occupational exposure, and there needs to be a greater focus on assessment of risks from hand-to-mouth contacts and more done to control such risks.

“The latest research is part of a project to develop a predictive model to estimate inadvertent ingestion exposure. To better understand this route of exposure, we developed a new integrated conceptual model for dermal and inadvertent ingestion. It consists of eight compartments (source, air, surface contaminant layer, outer clothing contaminant layer, inner clothing contaminant layer, hands and arms layer, perioral layer, and oral cavity) and nine mass transport processes (emission, deposition, resuspension or evaporation, transfer, removal, redistribution, decontamination, penetration and/or permeation, and swallowing) that describe event-based movement of substances between compartments (e.g. emission, deposition, etc.). We plan to use the conceptual model to guide the development of predictive exposure models for both the dermal and the inadvertent ingestion pathways.”

Gorman Ng M, Semple S, W Cherrie J, et al. The Relationship Between Inadvertent Ingestion and Dermal Exposure Pathways: A New Integrated Conceptual Model and a Database of Dermal and Oral Transfer Efficiencies. Ann Occup Hyg Published Online First: 23 July 2012. doi:10.1093/annhyg/mes041

Cherrie JW, Semple S, Christopher Y, et al. How important is inadvertent ingestion of hazardous substances at work?Ann Occup Hyg 2006;50:693–704.

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For over 3 decades the
 Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman  1.973.696.7900  jon@gelmans.com have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.

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