Effect of Bromine Substitution on Human Dermal Absorption of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers

Mohamed Abou Elwafa Abdallah*, Gopal Pawar, Stuart Harrad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
193 Downloads (Pure)


Human dermal absorption of eight mono- to deca-brominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) was investigated for the first time using EPISKIN human skin equivalent tissue. Using a standard in vitro protocol, EPISKIN tissues mounted in specially designed diffusion cells were exposed to the target PBDEs for 24 h. Estimated steady-state flux (JSS) and permeation coefficients (Papp) across the skin increased with decreasing bromine substitution from BDE-153 (P<inf>app</inf> = 4.0 × 10-4 cm/h) to BDE-1 (PSS = 1.1 × 10-2 cm/h). This was accompanied by an increase in the time required to traverse the skin tissue into the receptor fluid (lag time) from 0.25 h for BDE-1 to 1.26 h for BDE-153. Papp values for the studied PBDEs were correlated significantly (P < 0.05) with physicochemical parameters like water solubility and log KOW. While less brominated congeners achieved faster dermal penetration, higher PBDEs displayed greater accumulation within the skin tissue. The PBDEs thus accumulated represent a contaminant depot from which they may be slowly released to the systemic circulation over a prolonged period. Maximal percutaneous penetration was observed for BDE-1 (∼30% of the applied 500 ng/cm2 dose). Interestingly, BDE-183 and BDE-209 showed very low dermal absorption, exemplified by a failure to reach the steady state within the 24 h exposure period that was studied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10976-10983
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number18
Early online date24 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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