Absorption

likelihood of systemic effects from airborne ethanol is extremely low. This conclusion is supported by a human volunteer study carried out by Campbell and Wilson (1986).

Subjects exposed to 6,900-8,500 ppm for three hours, achieved blood ethanol concentrations in the range 1075 mg/l. Initially they complained of minimal irritation of the eyes and nose, which did not persist for more than 10 minutes. No systemic effects were reported (Lester and Greenberg, 1951).

The dermal toxicity of a solvent is determined by two factors (a) the rate of permeation of the solvent and (b) the toxicity of the permeating solvent. The permeability constant for ethanol for human skin has been calculated as 11.3 g/m2/h (Ursin et al., 1995). An average 70 kg, 175 cm tall man with a body surface area of 1.85 m2 would absorb approximately 21 g of ethanol per hour. Systemic effects following dermal exposure to ethanol in the workplace are unlikely.

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