Absorption of chemical vapors through the skin is a passive process that is not easily quantitated, but may be important in the assessment of health hazards in some occupational circumstances. Physiological modeling is a quantitative technique which may provide insight into the system being modeled and can be used for interspecies extrapolation. We developed a physiological model for the penetration of organic vapors through skin in vivo which allows the prediction of blood concentrations, after dermal vapor exposures in the rat, when chemical distribution coefficients, physiological and metabolic parameters, and skin permeability constants are known. We used the model in two distinct ways. First, permeability constants for dibromomethane (DBM), bromochloromethane (BCM), and methylene chloride (DCM) were calculated by using a physiologically based pharmacokinetic model for dihalomethanes to relate blood concentrations during dermal vapor exposures to the total amount of chemical which was absorbed through the skin. Second, a skin compartment was added to the model which had input based on the permeability-area-concentration product. This predictive model adequately described blood concentrations after DBM, BCM, and DCM dermal vapor exposures over a wide range of concentrations. This model could easily be modified for use with other organic vapors, and could be used to extrapolate to human vapor exposure conditions by substituting human physiological parameters for the animal values, providing permeability constants are known or can be determined. © 1986.
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