Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

B20 – Experimental assessment of inhalation and dermal exposure to chemicals during industrial and professional activities

Principal Investigator

Dr. Wouter Fransman
TNO –  Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research
Utrechtseweg 48, 3700 AJ Zeist, NL
Tel. +31 (0)88 866 17 33


Dr. K. M. Kasiotis, PhD Chemist Associate Researcher, Benaki Phytopathological Institute, Laboratory of Pesticides Toxicology, Athens, GD, k.kasiotis@bpi.gr


The purpose of this project is to generate inhalation and dermal exposure data that can be used to evaluate ECETOC TRA worker exposure estimates for key industrial and professional uses of chemicals for PROCs where in previous validation studies the PROCs were either not investigated (due to insufficient data available) or where the ECETOC TRA underestimates the exposure compared to the measured exposure.

Generating dermal and inhalation exposure data in an experimental setting that reflects exposure situations that resemble actual workplace situations will result in representative basic concentration (exposure) estimates. These data can primarily be used to evaluate and refine the ECETOC TRA, but can also be useful to derive ‘general applicable’ exposure values to be used in risk assessment, and ideally even stimulate the collection of more high quality exposure data by governmental and industrial partners.

In addition to a quantitative assessment of inhalation exposure and dermal exposure to the hands, a qualitative assessment, for instance by means of a fluorescence technique that enables visualisation of dermal exposure, will give insight into the overall pattern of dermal exposure (which body parts are significantly exposed). This will generate valuable information on relevant routes of exposure and the relation between inhalation and dermal exposure, which in turn can contribute to education and training on exposure to dangerous substances at the workplace (for instance on use of certain types of personal protective equipment in particular situations).

In order to generate high quality inhalation and dermal exposure data we propose to perform measurements in an experimental setting to obtain representative base concentration estimates for ECETOC TRA for various workplace activities (PROCs) where the ETEAM project had insufficient data to yield conclusions, while keeping other operational conditions (such as air exchange rates, workroom volume, etc.) constant. By performing well-designed experiments in a reproducible way and thereby reducing the variability in outcomes due to variation in for instance behaviour and environmental conditions, the data gathered can be used to reach the objectives of this study.

Based on the conclusions of the validation studies from ETEAM and the subsequent LRI B16 project performed by TNO and Triskelion (Marquart et al., 2017), as well as taking into account the requests of Cefic as indicated in the request for proposals, the following aspects are taken into consideration for the generation of data:

  • A review of existing data regarding the PROCs not covered by the ETEAM study will be conducted that highlight potential concerns with the TRA estimates by making use of available results from previous work conducted and/or by using relevant peer reviewed literature.
  • Based on this review a set of use scenarios for the experiments will be selected and discussed with the LRI project monitoring team.
  • The envisaged experimental set-up for both dermal and inhalation measurements, the decisive factors (determinants), and type of information to be collected will be described as clearly and transparently as possible, aiming to be directly associated with the selected use scenarios and ECETOC TRA model parameters.
  • Experiments will be defined and set-up in agreement with the LRI project monitoring team to generate exposure data covering those PROCs for which insufficient data were identified and/or PROCs considered to potentially underestimate ‘true’ exposures;
  • Both solid and liquid substances/formulations across the relevant fugacity range are considered and agreed with the LRI project monitoring team, with the focus on the fugacity in which underestimation of the ECETOC TRA model has been reported previously;
  • Pilot simulations with the chemical(s) selected, will be performed to test the experimental set-up;
  • Sufficient experimental data will be collected and complemented with already existing work, to enable the evaluation of findings from previous studies and provide insight into the performance of ECETOC TRA by comparing these measurement data with model estimates across the described scenarios. This will provide insight into areas of the TRA that may benefit from further refinement.


The project will result in a comprehensive final report, that includes a full description of the approach, the choices made based on previous work and industry input, final results of the experiments, an executive summary, and a detailed bibliography.

As part of the project and also in the final report, the following will be delivered:

  • A detailed study plan based on the review with regard to the execution of the different experiments and (if not already available) validation of the measurement and analytical methods;
  • A comprehensive database containing contextual information and measurement results (both inhalation and dermal) from the experiments;
  • A set of photographs taken under UV-light, that are analyzed to indicate qualitative dermal exposure for all body parts;
  • A comparison between model estimates from ECETOC TRA and measured exposure values across the described scenarios from this work and (when available) previous work such as data derived during the LRI B16 project, to help identify areas of the TRA that may benefit from further refinement;
  • One peer reviewed publication on the findings of this study.

An active dialogue with the LRI Monitoring Team during all stages of the project is foreseen, especially during the development of the experimental study design and the selection of use scenarios, to ensure that the experiments represent the relevant industrial activities in the best possible way. It is believed that the interaction with the LRI Monitoring Team in previous projects (such as B16 and B19) has added valuable insights over the course of the projects, which enhanced the project results.

Furthermore, the results of this project will be presented during one or two suitable European symposium or conferences, participating in follow-up workshops and discussions.

Related Publications

Experimental Assessment of Inhalation and Dermal Exposure to Chemicals During Industrial
or Professional Activities in Relation to the Performance of ECETOC TRA. Franken, R; Kasiotis, K; Tsakirakis, A; Chartzala, I; Anastasiadou, P; Machera, K; Fransman, W; Gerritsen-Ebben, R; and Spaan, S. Department of Risk Analysis for Products in Development (RAPID), TNO. Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 2020, 1–15 (2020).



Timeline: April 2018 > October 2020

LRI funding: € 187 880

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