Evaluation of in vitro vs. in vivo methods for assessment of dermal absorption of organic flame retardants: A review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


There is a growing interest to study human dermal exposure to a large number of chemicals, whether in the indoor or outdoor environment. Such studies are essential to predict the systemic exposure to xenobiotic chemicals for risk assessment purposes and to comply with various regulatory guidelines. However, very little is currently known about human dermal exposure to persistent organic pollutants. While recent pharmacokinetic studies have highlighted the importance of dermal contact as a pathway of human exposure to brominated flame retardants, risk assessment studies had to apply assumed values for percutaneous penetration of various flame retardants (FRs) due to complete absence of specific experimental data on their human dermal bioavailability. Therefore, this article discusses the current state-of-knowledge on the significance of dermal contact as a pathway of human exposure to FRs. The available literature on in vivo and in vitro methods for assessment of dermal absorption of FRs in human and laboratory animals is critically reviewed. Finally, a novel approach for studying human dermal absorption of FRs using in vitro three-dimensional (3D) human skin equivalent models is presented and the challenges facing future dermal absorption studies on FRs are highlighted.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironment International
Early online date10 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


  • flame retardants, dermal absorption, human exposure, human skin equivalents, bioavailability