An oil-in-water cleansing emulsion containing calixarene molecule, an actinide specific chelating agent, was formulated in order to improve the decontamination of uranium from the skin. Commonly commercialized cosmetic ingredients such as surfactants, mineral oil, or viscosifying agents were used in preparing the calixarene emulsion. The formulation was characterized in terms of size and apparent viscosity measurements and then was tested for its ability to limit uranyl ion permeation through excoriated pig-ear skin explants in 24-h penetration studies. Calixarene emulsion effectiveness was compared with two other reference treatments consisting of DTPA and EHBP solutions. Application of calixarene emulsion induced the highest decontamination effect with an 87% decrease in uranium diffusion flux. By contrast, EHBP and DTPA solutions only allowed a 50% and 55% reduction of uranium permeation, respectively, and had the same effect as a simple dilution of the contamination by pure water. Uranium diffusion decrease was attributed to uranyl ion-specific chelation by calixarene within the formulation, since no significant effect was obtained after application of the same emulsion without calixarene. Thus, calixarene cleansing emulsion could be considered as a promising treatment in case of accidental contamination of the skin by highly diffusible uranium compounds.
Health Phys. 105(4):000-000; 2013