Aggregate dermal exposure to cyclic siloxanes in personal care products: implications for risk assessment

Jacqueline W. H. Biesterbos*, Gwendolyn Beckmann, Luuk van Wel, Rob B. M. Anzion, Natalie von Goetz, Tatsiana Dudzina, Nel Roeleveld, Ad M. J. Ragas, Frans G. M. Russel, Paul T. J. Scheepers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Web of Science)


Consumers who use personal care products (PCPs) are internally exposed to some of the organic components present of which some may be detected in exhaled air when eliminated. The aim of this study was the quantitative determination of octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4) and decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5) in end-exhaled air to study dermal absorption of substances in PCPs. We exposed the forearm of fifteen healthy volunteers for 60 min to pure D4 or D5 and to commercial products containing D4 and D5. Inhalation uptake was kept to a minimum by keeping the forearm in a flow cabinet during dermal exposure and supplying filtered air to the breathing zone of the volunteer during the post-exposure period. End-exhaled air was collected using a breath sampler (Bio-VOC), transferred to carbograph multi-bed adsorbent tubes and analyzed by thermal desorption gas chromatography mass spectrometry (TD-GC-MS). In the end-exhaled air of non-exposed volunteers background concentrations of D4 (0.8–3.5 ng/L) and D5 (0.8–4.0 ng/L) were observed. After exposing the volunteers, the level of D4 and D5 in end-exhaled air did not or barely exceed background concentrations. At t = 90 min, a sharp increase of the D4/D5 concentration in end-exhaled air was observed, which we attributed to the inhalation of the substances during a toilet visit without using inhalation protection devices. When this visit was taken out of the protocol, the sharp increase disappeared. Overall, the results of our study indicate that dermal absorption of D4 and D5 contributes only marginally to internal exposure following dermal applications. As in our study inhalation is the primary route of entry for these compounds, we conclude that its risk assessment should focus on this particular exposure route.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-239
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironment International
Early online date5 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane
  • Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane
  • D4
  • D5
  • Human biological monitoring
  • End-exhaled air
  • AIR


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