Design and characterisation of a novel in vitro skin diffusion cell system for assessing mass casualty decontamination systems
Atkinson, K. L.
Skamarauskas, J. T.
The efficient removal of contaminants from the outer surfaces of the body can provide an effective means of reducing adverse health effects associated with incidents involving the accidental or deliberate release of hazardous materials. Showering with water is frequently used by first responders as a rapid method of mass casualty decontamination (MCD). However, there is a paucity of data on the generic effectiveness and safety of aqueous decontamination systems. To address these issues, we have developed a new in vitro skin diffusion cell system to model the conditions of a common MCD procedure ("ladder pipe system"). The new diffusion cell design incorporates a showering nozzle, an air sampling port for measurement of vapour loss and/aerosolisation, adjustable (horizontal to vertical) skin orientation and a circulating manifold system (to maintain a specified flow rate, temperature and pressure of shower water). The dermal absorption characteristics of several simulants (Invisible Red S, curcumin and methyl salicylate) measured with the new in vitro model were in good agreement with previous in vitro and in vivo studies. Moreover, these initial studies have indicated that whilst flow rate and water temperature are important factors for MCD, the presence of clothing during showering may (under certain circumstances) cause transfer and spreading of contaminants to the skin surface.