Soil–skin adherence measures from hand press trials in a Gulf study of exposures

Alesia Ferguson, Kyra Rattler, Hanna Perone, Ashok Kumar Dwivedi, Emmanuel Obeng-Gyasi, Kristina D. Mena, Helena Solo-Gabriele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Marine oil spills and the resulting environmental contamination is common along coastal areas; however, information is lacking about the safety of impacted beaches for public use, especially for the most vulnerable population: children. One route of exposure for children at oil impacted beaches is through contact with sands. The purpose of this study was to evaluate beach sand skin adherence for children under the age of seven. Each of 122 children participated in a hand press trial conducted at one of four different U.S. beaches (two in Miami, FL, and two in Galveston, TX USA). During the hand press trials, hand conditions of the children were randomized (dry, wet, or with sunscreen), and soil adherence (mass of sand per palmar surface area of the hand) and the maximum pressure applied (force applied per area of hand) was measured and calculated. Each child was instructed to press their hands on a soil laden tray for 5 s and pressure of contact was measured using a scale. Results (n = 98) showed that the average soil adherence for both palmar hands across the four beaches ranged from 0.200 to 234 mg/cm2 with an average of 35.7 mg/cm2, with boys (40.4 mg/cm2) showing slightly higher means than girls (31.7 mg/cm2), but these differences were not significant even after adjusting for age. Among the three conditions evaluated, the highest loading was measured for children with wet hands (mean 65.3 mg/cm2), followed by dry hands (mean 24.5 mg/cm2). Sunscreen hands (mean 23.2 mg/cm2) had the lowest loadings. The pressure of contact ranged from 0.180 to 1.69 psi and varied by age groups and by height and weight, where pressure of contact did not have a significant influence on soil adherence. The average adhered sand grain size and average ambient sand grain size both had a statistically significant impact on hand soil adherence. Overall results from this study can be utilized in exposure and risk assessment models to evaluate the possible health impacts from contaminants found in beach sands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-169
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Beach exposure
  • Children’s exposure
  • Dermal adherence
  • Dermal exposure
  • Hand press trials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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