Laboratory Validation and Field Assessment of Petroleum Laboratory Technicians’ Dermal Exposure to Crude Oil Using a Wipe Sampling Method

Crude oil may cause adverse dermal effects therefore dermal exposure is an exposure route of concern. Galea et al. (2014b) reported on a study comparing recovery (wipe) and interception (cotton glove) dermal sampling methods. The authors concluded that both methods were suitable for assessing dermal exposure to oil-based drilling fluids and crude oil but that glove samplers may overestimate the amount of fluid transferred to the skin. In the present study, the authors describe a study which aimed to further evaluate the wipe sampling method to assess dermal exposure to crude oil, with this assessment including extended sample storage periods and sampling efficiency tests being undertaken at environmental conditions to mimic those typical of outdoor conditions in Saudi Arabia. The wipe sampling method was then used to assess the laboratory technicians’ actual exposure to crude oil during typical petroleum laboratory tasks. Overall, acceptable storage efficiencies up to 54 days were reported with results suggesting storage stability over time. Sampling efficiencies were also reported to be satisfactory at both ambient and elevated temperature and relative humidity environmental conditions for surrogate skin spiked with known masses of crude oil and left up to 4 h prior to wiping, though there was an indication of reduced sampling efficiency over time. Nineteen petroleum laboratory technicians provided a total of 35 pre- and 35 post-activity paired hand wipe samples. Ninety-three percent of the pre-exposure paired hand wipes were less than the analytical limit of detection (LOD), whereas 46% of the post-activity paired hand wipes were less than the LOD. The geometric mean paired post-activity wipe sample measurement was 3.09 µg cm-2 (range 1.76-35.4 µg cm-2). It was considered that dermal exposure most frequently occurred through direct contact with the crude oil (emission) or via deposition. The findings of this study suggest that the wipe sampling method is satisfactory in quantifying laboratory technicians’ dermal exposure to crude oil. It is therefore considered that this wipe sampling method may be suitable to quantify dermal exposure to crude oil for other petroleum workers.

Authors: Galea KS, Mueller W, Arfaj AM, Llamas JL, Buick J, Todd D, McGonagle C. ; Full Source: Annals of Work Exposure & Health. 2018 May 21. doi: 10.1093/annweh/wxy038. [Epub ahead of print]