Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Transdermal uptake of benzophenone-3 from clothing: comparison of human participant results to model predictions



Models of transdermal uptake of chemicals from clothing have been developed, but not compared with recent human subject experiments. In a well-characterized experiment, participants wore t-shirts pre-dosed with benzophenone-3 (BP-3) and BP-3 and a metabolite were monitored in urine voids.


Compare a dynamic model of transdermal uptake from clothing to results of the human subject experiment.


The model simulating dynamic transdermal uptake from clothing was coupled with direct measurements of the gas phase concentration of benzophenone-3 (BP-3) near the surface of clothing to simulate the conditions of the human subject experiment.


The base-case model results were consistent with the those reported for human subjects. The results were moderately sensitive to parameters such as the diffusivity in the stratum corneum (SC), the SC thickness, and SC-air partition coefficient. The model predictions were most sensitive to the clothing fit. Tighter clothing worn during exposure period significantly increased excretion rates but tighter fit “clean” clothing during post-exposure period acts as a sink that reduces transdermal absorption by transferring BP-3 from skin surface lipids to clothing. The shape of the excretion curve was most sensitive to the diffusivity in the SC and clothing fit.


This research provides further support for clothing as an important mediator of dermal exposure to environmental chemicals.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Mass (BP-3 + BP-1) (µg) excreted during the first 24 h after start of exposure.
Fig. 2: Dynamic excretion rates (μg/h) of BP-3 + BP-1.
Fig. 3: Experimental and simulated BP-3 + BP-1 excretion rates (µg/h) for different clothing fit scenarios.


  1. Rudel RA, Perovich LJ. Endocrine disrupting chemicals in indoor and outdoor air. Atmos Environ. 2009;43:170–81.

    CAS  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  2. Weschler CJ, Nazaroff WW. Semivolatile organic compounds in indoor environments. Atmos Environ. 2008;42:9018–40.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Zaganas I, Kapetanaki S, Mastorodemos V, Kanavouras K, Colosio C, Wilks MF, et al. Linking pesticide exposure and dementia: what is the evidence? Toxicology. 2013;307:3–11.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Su PH, Chen JY, Lin CY, Chen HY, Liao PC, Ying TH, et al. Sex steroid hormone levels and reproductive development of eight-year-old children following in utero and environmental exposure to phthalates. PLoS ONE. 2014;9:1–10.

  5. Kim YM, Kim J, Cheong HK, Jeon BH, Ahn K. Exposure to phthalates aggravates pulmonary function and airway inflammation in asthmatic children. PLoS ONE. 2018;13:1–13.

  6. Berger K, Eskenazi B, Kogut K, Parra K, Lustig RH, Greenspan LC, et al. Association of prenatal urinary concentrations of phthalates and bisphenol a and pubertal timing in boys and girls. Environ Health Perspect. 2018;126:097004-1–097004-9.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Salthammer T, Bahadir M. Occurrence, dynamics and reactions of organic pollutants in the indoor environment. Clean - Soil, Air, Water. 2009;37:417–35.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Benning JL, Liu Z, Tiwari A, Little JC, Marr LC. Characterizing gas-particle interactions of phthalate plasticizer emitted from vinyl flooring. Environ Sci Technol. 2013;47:2696–703.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Saini A, Rauert C, Simpson MJ, Harrad S, Diamond ML. Characterizing the sorption of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) to cotton and polyester fabrics under controlled conditions. Sci Total Environ. 2016;563–564:99–107.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Eftekhari A, Morrison GC. A high throughput method for measuring cloth-air equilibrium distribution ratios for SVOCs present in indoor environments. Talanta. 2018;183:250–7.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Morrison GC, Andersen HV, Gunnarsen L, Varol D, Uhde E, Kolarik B. Partitioning of PCBs from air to clothing materials in a Danish apartment. Indoor Air. 2018;28:188–97.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Li HL, Ma WL, Liu LY, Zhang Z, Sverko E, Zhang ZF, et al. Phthalates in infant cotton clothing: occurrence and implications for human exposure. Sci Total Environ. 2019;683:109–15.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Morrison G, Shakila NV, Parker K. Accumulation of gas-phase methamphetamine on clothing, toy fabrics, and skin oil. Indoor Air. 2015;25:405–14.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Licina D, Morrison GC, Bekö G, Weschler CJ, Nazaroff WW. Clothing-mediated exposures to chemicals and particles. Environ Sci Technol. 2019;53:5559–75.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Blum A, Gold MD, Ames BN, Kenyon C, Jones FR, Hett EA, et al. Children absorb tris-BP flame retardant from sleepwear: urine contains the mutagenic metabolite, 2,3-dibromopropanol. Sci Am Assoc Advancement Sci. 1978;201:1020–3.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Rossbach B, Appel KE, Mross KG, Letzel S. Uptake of permethrin from impregnated clothing. Toxicol Lett. 2010;192:50–5.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Rossbach B, Niemietz A, Kegel P, Letzel S. Uptake and elimination of permethrin related to the use of permethrin treated clothing for forestry workers. Toxicol Lett. 2014;231:147–53.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Morrison G, Li H, Mishra S, Buechlein M. Airborne phthalate partitioning to cotton clothing. Atmos Environ. 2015;115:149–52.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Morrison GC, Weschler CJ, Bekö G, Koch HM, Salthammer T, Schripp T, et al. Role of clothing in both accelerating and impeding dermal absorption of airborne SVOCs. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2016;26:113–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Cao J, Zhang X, Zhang Y. Predicting dermal exposure to gas-phase semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs): a further study of SVOC mass transfer between clothing and skin surface lipids. Environ Sci Technol. 2018;52:4676–83.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Morrison GC, Weschler CJ, Bekö G. Dermal uptake of phthalates from clothing: comparison of model to human participant results. Indoor Air. 2017;27:642–9.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. Cleek RL, Bunge AL. A new method for estimating dermal absorption from chemical exposure. 1. General approach. Pharm Res J Am Assoc Pharm Sci. 1993;10:497–506.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Bunge AL, Cleek RL, Vecchia BE. A new method for estimating dermal absorption from chemical exposure. 3. Compared with steady-state methods for prediction and data analysis. Pharm Res J Am Assoc Pharm Sci. 1995;12:972–82.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. Wilschut A, ten Berge WF, Robinson PJ, McKone TE. Estimating skin permeation. The validation of five mathematical skin permeation models. Chemosphere. 1995;30:1275–96.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Riley WJ, McKone TE, Hubal EAC. Estimating contaminant dose for intermittent dermal contact: model development, testing, and application. Risk Anal. 2004;24:73–85.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Weschler CJ, Nazaroff WW. SVOC exposure indoors: fresh look at dermal pathways. Indoor Air. 2012;22:356–77.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Gong M, Zhang Y, Weschler CJ. Predicting dermal absorption of gas-phase chemicals: transient model development, evaluation, and application. Indoor Air. 2014;24:292–306.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Morrison GC, Weschler CJ, Bekö G. Dermal uptake directly from air under transient conditions: advances in modeling and comparisons with experimental results for human subjects. Indoor Air. 2016;26:913–24.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Morrison GC, Bekö G, Weschler CJ, Schripp T, Salthammer T, Hill J, et al. Dermal uptake of benzophenone-3 from clothing. Environ Sci Technol. 2017;51:11371–9.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Jansen R, Osterwalder U, Wang SQ, Burnett M, Lim HW. Photoprotection: Part II. sunscreen: development, efficacy, and controversies. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013;69:867.e1–867.e14.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Kim S, Choi K. Occurrences, toxicities, and ecological risks of benzophenone-3, a common component of organic sunscreen products: a mini-review. Environ Int. 2014;70:143–57.

  32. Janjua NR, Mogensen B, Andersson A-M, Petersen JH, Henriksen M, Skakkebaek NE, et al. Systemic absorption of the sunscreens Benzophenone-3, Octyl-Methoxycinnamate, and 3-(4-Methyl-Benzylidene) camphor after whole-body topical application and reproductive hormone levels in humans. J Invest Dermatol. 2004;123:57–61.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Janjua N, Kongshoj B, Andersson A-M, Wulf H. Sunscreens in human plasma and urine after repeated whole-body topical application. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2008;22:456–61.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Gustavsson Gonzalez H, Farbrot A, Larko O. Percutaneous absorption of benzophenone-3, a common component of topical sunscreens. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2002;27:691–4.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  35. Gonzalez H, Farbrot A, Larko O, Wennberg A-M. Percutaneous absorption of the sunscreen benzophenone-3 after repeated whole-body applications, with and without ultraviolet irradiation. Br J Dermatol. 2006;154:337–40.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  36. Sarveiya V, Risk S, Benson HA. Liquid chromatographic assay for common sunscreen agents: application to in vivo assessment of skin penetration and systemic absorption in human volunteers. J Chromatogr B. 2004;803:225–31.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  37. Krause M, Andersson AM, Skakkebaek NE, Frederiksen H. Exposure to UV filters during summer and winter in Danish kindergarten children. Environ Int. 2017;99:177–84.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  38. Wan Y, Xue J, Kannan K. Occurrence of benzophenone-3 in indoor air from Albany, New York, USA, and its implications for inhalation exposure. Sci Total Environ. 2015;537:304–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  39. Westcott JW, Simon CG, Bidleman TF. Determination of polychlorinated biphenyl vapor pressures by a semimicro gas saturation method. Environ Sci Technol. 1981;15:1375–8.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  40. American Society for Testing & Mater. Standard test method for thermal transmittance of textile materials. American Society for Testing & Mater; 1985. p. 1–5.

  41. Lago AF, Jimenez P, Herrero R, Dávalos JZ, Abboud JLM. Thermochemistry and gas-phase ion energetics of 2-hydroxy-4-methoxy- benzophenone (oxybenzone). J Phys Chem A. 2008;112:3201–8.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  42. Greene RS, Downing DT, Pochi PE, Strauss JS. Anatomical variation in the amount and composition of human skin surface lipid. J Invest Dermatol. 1970;54:240–7.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Saint-Leger D, Berrebi C, Duboz C, Agache P. The lipometre: an easy tool for rapid quantitation of skin surface lipids (SSL) in man. Arch Dermatol Res. 1979;265:79–89.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Holbrook KA, Odland GF. Regional differences in the thickness (cell layers) of the human stratum corneum: an ultrastructural analysis. J Invest Dermatol. 1974;62:415–22.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  45. Wang T, Kasting GB, Nitsche JM. A multiphase microscopic diffusion model for stratum corneum permeability. II. estimation of physicochemical parameters, and application to a large permeability database. J Pharm Sci. 2007;96:3024–51.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  46. Nitsche JM, Wang T-F, Kasting GB. A two-phase analysis of solute partitioning into the stratum corneum. J Pharm Sci. 2006;95:649–66.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. Dancik Y, Miller MA, Jaworska J, Kasting GB. Design and performance of a spreadsheet-based model for estimating bioavailability of chemicals from dermal exposure. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2013;65:221–36.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  48. Eftekhari A, Frederiksen H, Andersson AM, Weschler CJ, Weschler CJ, Morrison G. Predicting transdermal uptake of phthalates and a paraben from cosmetic cream using the measured fugacity. Environ Sci Technol. 2020;54:7471–84.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  49. Okereke CS, Kadry AM, Abdel-Rahman MS, Davis RA, Friedman MA. Metabolism of benzophenone-3 in rats. Drug Metab Dispos. 1993;21:788–91.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  50. Okereke CS, Abdel-Rhaman MS, Friedman MA. Disposition of benzophenone-3 after dermal administration in male rats. Toxicol Lett. 1994;73:113–22.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


Thanks to the Center for Research in Energy and the Environment (CREE) of the Missouri University of Science & Technology. Dr. Honglan Shi, and Gary Abbott for their help with the instruments.


Thanks to A.P. Sloan Foundation and Modeling Consortium for Chemistry of Indoor Environments for support of the modeling component of this research (MOCCIE; G-2017-9706 and G2017-12306).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



AE collected data, generated model simulations, drafted and revised the manuscript. JTH acquired data and helped draft the manuscript. GCM conceived of the work, supervised model simulations, revised the manuscript. All authors approved of the final version and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Glenn C. Morrison.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Eftekhari, A., Hill, J.T. & Morrison, G.C. Transdermal uptake of benzophenone-3 from clothing: comparison of human participant results to model predictions. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 31, 149–157 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Skin uptake
  • Textiles
  • Exposure
  • Oxybenzone
  • Simulation

This article is cited by


Quick links