Absorption

Dermal absorption of DMF may be significant (Lauwerys et al., 1980; Mraz and Nohova, 1992a); consequently the airborne concentration of DMF may not necessarily reflect the risk of exposure (Lauwerys et al., 1980). Liquid DMF is absorbed through the skin at a rate of 9.4 mg/cm2/hour. The rate of absorption of DMF vapour varies depending on the ambient temperature and humidity. The yield of metabolites in volunteers exposed dermally to DMF was only half that of those exposed by inhalation, but the ratio was the same. Skin exposure to DMF is characterised by rapid absorption, extensive accumulation and slow elimination. Volunteers exposed to 10 ppm of DMF for 8 hours excreted 300 |imol of N-(hydroxymethyl)-N-methylformamide (HMMF) in urine in 24 hours. Immersion of one hand in liquid DMF for 10 minutes resulted in excretion of the same quantity of HMMF. In volunteers exposed to DMF vapour, percutaneous absorption was calculated to account for 13-36% of the total uptake (Mraz and Nohova, 1992a).

The use of impermeable gloves is more effective than silicone or glycerol barrier creams at reducing dermal absorption of DMF (Lauwerys et al., 1980).

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