Dermatotoxicity of cutting fluid mixtures:in vitro and in vivo studies

Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2006;25(4):235-47. doi: 10.1080/15569520601013137.


Cutting fluids are widely used in the metal-machining industry to lubricate and reduce heat generation when metals are cut by a metal-cutting tool. These cutting fluids have caused occupational irritant contact dermatitis (OICD), and many of the additives used in these cutting fluid mixtures are thought to be responsible for OICD in workers. The purpose of this study was to assess single or various combinations of these additives in initiating the OICD response following an acute 8-hour exposure in porcine skin in vivo and in vitro using the isolated perfused porcine skin flap (IPPSF) and human epidermal keratinocytes (HEK). Pigs (n = 4) were exposed to 5% mineral oil (MO) or 5% polyethylene glycol (PEG) aqueous mixtures containing various combinations of 2% triazine (TRI), 5% triethanolamine (TEA), 5% linear alkylbenzene sulfonate (LAS), or 5% sulfurized ricinoleic acid (SRA). Erythema and edema were evaluated and skin biopsies for histopathology were obtained at 4 and 8 hours. IPPSFs (n = 4) were exposed to control MO or PEG mixtures and complete MO or PEG mixtures, and perfusate samples were collected hourly to determine interleukin- (IL-) 8 release. The only significant (p < 0.05) mixture effects observed in IPPSFs were with SRA + MO that caused an increase in IL-8 release after 1 or 2 hours' exposure. In vivo exposure to TRI alone appeared to increase erythema, edema, and dermal inflammation compared to the other additives, while SRA alone was least likely to initiate a dermal inflammatory response. In 2-component mixture exposures, the presence of TRI appeared to increase the dermal inflammatory response at 4 and 8 hours especially with the PEG mixtures. In the 3- and 4-component mixtures, MO mixtures are more likely to incite an inflammatory response than PEG mixtures. TRI exhibited the highest toxicity toward HEK, which correlates well to the in vivo irritation and morphology results. In summary, these preliminary studies suggest that the biocide, TRI, is the more potent of the 4 performance additives in causing dermal irritation, and this may vary depending on whether the worker is exposed to a synthetic (PEG)- or MO-based fluid. These findings will however require further clinical studies to validate these acute dermal effects as well as human cumulative irritation following exposure to similar cutting fluid formulations in the workplace.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / metabolism
  • Dermatitis, Contact / pathology
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / etiology*
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / metabolism
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / pathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / embryology
  • Metallurgy*
  • Mineral Oil / pharmacokinetics
  • Mineral Oil / toxicity*
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Absorption
  • Swine


  • Interleukin-8
  • Mineral Oil