Dermal and pulmonary absorption of ethanol from alcohol-based hand rub.

Link to article at PubMed

Dermal and pulmonary absorption of ethanol from alcohol-based hand rub.

J Hosp Infect. 2012 Mar 22;

Authors: Ahmed-Lecheheb D, Cunat L, Hartemann P, Hautemanière A

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Ethanol intoxication of healthcare workers (HCWs) using alcohol-based hand rubs (ABHRs) in the workplace is a potentially serious issue. This study quantified the level of ethanol absorption among HCWs after hygienic hand disinfection. METHODS: Eighty-six HCWs from Nancy University Hospital were tested before and after a 4-h shift. Participants used ABHR containing 70% ethanol. Levels of ethanol, acetaldehyde and acetate in blood and urine were determined using gas chromatography. A breathalyzer was used to measure the level of ethanol in expired air. RESULTS: Ethanol [mean concentration 0.076 (standard deviation 0.05) mg/L] was detected in the expired air of 28 HCWs 1-2 min post exposure. Ethanol, acetaldehyde and acetate were undetectable in blood after a 4-h shift, and urine tests were negative in all participants. CONCLUSION: Ethanol exposure from ABHR, particularly inhalation of vapours, resulted in positive breathalyzer readings 1-2 min after exposure. Dermal absorption of ethanol was not detected. Pulmonary absorption was detected but was below toxic levels.

PMID: 22445089 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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