There are currently no published empirical data that characterize hand-to-mouth transfer efficiencies for metallic lead. The purpose of this study was to quantify the hand-to-mouth transfer efficiency of lead in adult volunteers (n = 6) using human saliva as a surrogate for the mouth and commercially available, 100% lead fishing weights as the source of lead for dermal loading. Study volunteers' saliva was collected and subsequently poured onto a sheet of wax paper placed on a balance scale. The volunteers handled lead fishing weights with both hands for approximately 15 s and then pressed three fingers from the right hand (test hand) into their saliva 10 times, with ~0.45kg of pressure. The left hand (control hand) was used as a comparison for dermal loading of lead and had no contact with saliva. SKC Full Disclosure® wipes were used to collect lead from the saliva and skin surfaces. Samples were analyzed using the NIOSH 7300 method, which was modified for wipes. The mean lead skin-to-saliva transfer efficiency was 24% (range: 12-34%). These data will be useful for more accurately characterizing lead hand-to-mouth transfer efficiencies and are likely to be helpful in exposure assessments or human health risk assessments.
Keywords: hand-to-mouth; lead exposure; oral exposure; saliva; transfer efficiency.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society.