Skin decontamination of mustards and organophosphates: comparative efficiency of RSDL and Fuller's earth in domestic swine

L Taysse, S Daulon, S Delamanche, B Bellier, P Breton
Human & Experimental Toxicology 2007, 26 (2): 135-41
Research in skin decontamination and therapy of chemical warfare agents has been a difficult problem due to the simultaneous requirement of rapid action and non-aggressive behaviour. The aim of this study was to compare the performance of two decontaminating systems: the Canadian Reactive Skin Decontaminant Lotion (RSDL) and the Fuller's Earth (FE). The experiment was conducted with domestic swine, as a good model for extrapolation to human skin. RSDL and FE were tested against sulphur mustard (SM), a powerful vesicant, and VX, a potent and persistent cholinesterase inhibitor. When used 5 min after contamination, the results clearly showed that both systems were active against SM (10.1 mg/cm(2)) and VX (0.06 mg/cm(2)). The potency of the RSDL/sponge was statistically better than FE against skin injury induced by SM, observed 3 days post-exposure. RSDL was rather more efficient than FE in reducing the formation of perinuclear vacuoles and inflammation processes in the epidermis and dermis. Against a severe inhibition (67%) of plasmatic cholinesterases induced by VX poisoning, the potencies of the RSDL/sponge and FE were similar. Both systems completely prevented cholinesterase inhibition, which indirectly indicates a prevention of toxic absorption through the skin.

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