Hairy skin exposure to VX in vitro: effectiveness of delayed decontamination

P Rolland, M-A Bolzinger, C Cruz, D Josse, S Briançon
Toxicology in Vitro: An International Journal Published in Association with BIBRA 2013, 27 (1): 358-66
The chemical warfare agents such as VX represent a threat for both military and civilians, which involves an immediate need of effective decontamination systems. Since human scalp is usually unprotected compared to other body regions covered with clothes, it could be a preferential site of exposure in case of terrorist acts. The purpose of this study was to determine if skin decontamination could be efficient when performed more than 1h after exposure. In addition, the impact of hairs in skin contamination was investigated. By using in vitro skin models, we demonstrated that about 75% of the applied quantity of VX was recovered on the skin surface 2h after skin exposition, which means that it is worth decontaminating even if contamination occurred 2h before. The stratum corneum reservoir for VX was quickly established and persistent. In addition, the presence of hairs modified the percutaneous penetration of the nerve agent by binding of VX to hairs. Hair shaft has thus to be taken into account in the decontamination process. Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion (RSDL) and Fuller's Earth (FE) were active in the skin decontamination 45min post-exposure, but RSDL was more efficient in reducing the amount of VX either in the skin or in the hair.

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