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I have to disagree with Janet. I would certainly not consider an annual
paper screen as being adequate. Given the nature of the exposures the
cumulative sub-clinical damage that causes irritant contact dermatitis could
result in the appearance of this condition at any time. The sub-clinical
damage cannot be detected by visual or paper screening. The sub-clinical
damage also predisposes to allergic contact dermatitis. It can be detected
by skin hydration measurement. 

"Nevertheless, changes in stratum corneum hydration measured by electrical
methods can be predictive of the irritation potential of topically applied
compounds. Indeed, subclinical irritant dermatitis can be detected by early
changes (reduction) in stratum corneum hydration." - From: The Potential Use
of Non-Invasive Methods in the Safety Assessment of Cosmetic Products -
Report and Recommendations - ECVAM Workshop 36. (European Centre for the
Validation of Alternative Methods)

The methods used and frequency of surveillance needs to be adjusted to the
particular workplace situation and potential for skin damage as determined
during the risk assessment for each task. I usually recommend an initial
screening, then, based on the results, a decision as to frequency can be
made. Eventually, depending upon results, it may be possible to extend the
interval for specific workplaces and tasks. 

Chris

Chris Packham
FRSPH, FInstSMM, MCMI, MIIRSM, MBICSc
EnviroDerm Services
Unit 10, Building 11, The Mews, Mitcheldean, GL17 0SN
Tel: +44 1386 832 311 (office), Mobile: +44 7818 035 898
www.enviroderm.co.uk

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