Contact Dermatitis: a Novel Approach for Testing
The client was a small company in the West Country, developing
novel products for addressing occupational health issues in the
Contact dermatitis is a type of skin inflammation that can arise
from contact with many different types of chemicals. In the
construction industry, it can be caused by handling materials such
as wet cement and paints. The client was developing a novel product
that could be added to cement to reduce its potential to cause
contact dermatitis. They wanted HSL to investigate the effects of
cement, with and without their new product, on human skin using an
in vitro model system.
"Will our product reduce the potentially harmful
effects of skin contact with cement?"
What We Did
Human skin cells
are normally grown in the laboratory in a clean, sterile
environment. However, mortar mix is made up of sand and cement,
both of which are granular and not sterile. HSL therefore developed
a novel solution to the problem, consisting of a gel-like barrier
for keeping the skin cells separate from the cement mix, but which
allowed soluble chemicals from the cement to migrate into the
medium on the cells. Therefore the effects of the chemicals in the
cement could be tested without interference from the large
HSL's In Vitro Toxicology team provided the customer
with information on the potential toxicity of the mortar mixes both
with and without the new additive. They also worked with our
analytical scientists who analysed the customer's different cement
mixes for Chromium VI, one of the components of cement most likely
to cause contact dermatitis.
HSL provided the client with an inter-disciplinary,
cost-effective solution to their problem, including:
- Analysis of the chemicals in the mortar mix.
- A novel approach for testing the potential effects of cement on
human skin cells in vitro.
- A staged series of experiments, with detailed analysis and
interpretation of the results, as each stage was completed, which
informed future product development work by the client as part of
its ongoing business
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