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A methodology for the assessment of inhalation exposure to aluminium from antiperspirant sprays


Inhalative exposure can occur accidentally when using cosmetic spray products. Usually, a tiered approach is applied for exposure assessment, starting with rather conservative, simplistic calculation models that may be improved with measured data and more refined modelling. Here we report on an advanced methodology to mimic in-use conditions for antiperspirant spray products to provide a more accurate estimate of the amount of aluminium possibly inhaled and taken up systemically, thus contributing to the overall body burden. Four typical products were sprayed onto a skin surrogate in defined rooms. For aluminium, size-related aerosol release fractions, i.e. inhalable, thoracic and respirable, were determined by a mass balance method taking droplet maturation into account. These data were included into a simple two-box exposure model, allowing calculation of the inhaled aluminium dose over 12 min. Systemic exposure doses were calculated for exposure of the deep lung and the upper respiratory tract using the Multiple Path Particle Deposition Model (MPPD) model. The total systemically available dose of aluminium was in all cases found to be less than 0.5 µg per application. With this study it could be demonstrated that refinement of the input data of the two-box exposure model with measured data of released airborne aluminium is a valuable approach to analyse the contribution of antiperspirant spray inhalation to total aluminium exposure as part of the overall risk assessment. We suggest the methodology which can also be applied to other exposure modelling approaches for spray products, and further is adapted to other similar use scenarios.

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We would like to thank Dr. Clare Vickers and Dr. Helge Weingart for proofreading the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Gerlinde Pappa.

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The authors G. Pappa, H. Miertsch and J. Scheel are employees of the sponsor of the studies. However, this did not influence the objectivity of the performed study. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Schwarz, K., Pappa, G., Miertsch, H. et al. A methodology for the assessment of inhalation exposure to aluminium from antiperspirant sprays. Arch Toxicol 92, 1383–1392 (2018).

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  • Aluminium
  • Antiperspirant sprays
  • Inhalation
  • Droplet maturation
  • Lung exposure
  • Two-box model