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Cardno ChemRisk Publication: Estimation of Hand-to-Mouth Transfer Efficiency of Lead (Sahmel et al., 2014)

Posted on behalf of the author, Kelsey Poinsatte-Jones


Lead continues to be found in consumer products and occupational settings despite its known toxicity. However, little is known about the transfer efficiency of lead during hand-to-mouth contacts, such as nail biting or thumb sucking. Cardno ChemRisk scientists performed the first simulation study to measure the lead transfer efficiency associated with skin-to-saliva contact as a model for the hand-to-mouth pathway. Six participants were asked to handle commercially-available lead fishing weights for 15 seconds, collect a sample of saliva, and touch their hands to the saliva 10 times with a pound of pressure. The lead samples were analysed using the NIOSH 7300 method, and the authors determined the transfer efficiency of lead from the skin to saliva for each participant. Using saliva as a surrogate for the mouth, these Cardno ChemRisk scientists found the estimated mean hand-to-mouth transfer efficiency of lead to be 24% (range: 12 to 34%).

To learn more about their methods and findings, please consult their paper, which has been recently published in The Annals of Occupational Hygiene journal, at the link below:

Sahmel et al. 2014. Estimation of Hand-to-Mouth Transfer Efficiency of Lead.

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