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J Occup Health year 2004 volume 46 number 5 page 410 - 417
Classification Original
Title Effect of Occupational Exposure to Rayon Manufacturing Chemicals on Skin Barrier to Evaporative Water Loss
Author Tzu-Chieh CHOU1, 2, Tung-Sheng SHIH5, Jui-Chen TSAI3, Jyun-De WU6, Hamm-Min SHEU4 and Ho-Yuan CHANG1
Organization 1Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, 2Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, 3Institute of Clinical Pharmacy, 4Department of Dermatology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, 5Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Council of Labor Affairs and 6Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Chang Jung Christian University, Taiwan, Republic of China
Keywords Transepidermal water loss, Barrier integrity, Tape stripping, Occupational exposure, Rayon manufacturing
Correspondence H.-Y. Chang, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health, National Cheng Kung University Medical College, 138 Sheng-Li Rd. 70428, Tainan, Taiwan R.O.C. (e-mail:
Abstract Effect of Occupational Exposure to Rayon Manufacturing Chemicals on Skin Barrier to Evaporative Water Loss: Tzu-Chieh CHOU, et al. Department of Environmental and Occupational Health-To evaluate the effects of the occupational exposure to rayon manufacturing chemicals (RMC, containing predominantly carbon disulfide (CS2) and minor sulfuric acid) in a rayon factory on the basal transepidermal water loss (TEWL), barrier integrity (BI), and sequential increasing TEWL profiles. Six Thais and five Chinese workers in the spinning department of a rayon manufacturing plant and five healthy unexposed controls were recruited as the test subjects. An area of 4.5 _ 5.5 cm on the mid-side of the volar forearm on the right hand was stripped by means of moderate pressure with commercially available adhesive tape by the same technician throughout the experiment. The skin was progressively stripped until glistening. TEWL was measured at every three and five tape strips on the right hand. The corresponding site on the left hand was measured parallel as the self-control. We found significant differences in basal TEWL and in BI between Chinese workers and Chinese controls, and between Thai workers and Chinese workers, respectively. Two-stage patterns of progressive TEWL profiles were found in such a chronic and repeated occupational exposure to RMC containing CS2. The occupational exposure to RMC could result in the perturbation of the skin barrier function. Basal TEWL might be more sensitive to chronic skin irritant exposure. The TEWL profile achieved to the glistening stage might be necessary to avoid erroneous pattern estimation. Due to the lack of Thais control in this study, the racial difference in response to the RMC warrants further study.