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Studies of the pharmacokinetics (i.e. absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion) of kerosine are scarce. There are some in vitro and in vivo studies available on jet fuels. However, since jet fuel is a complex mixture, these studies use certain constituents of jet fuels as marker compounds to describe the pharmacokinetics of jet fuel . There are more data available for a number of kerosine constituents, and these can be used as a basis for understanding the pharmacokinetics of kerosine as a whole. There are three ways in which humans are exposed to kerosine: by inhalation; ingestion; and dermal contact. Due to the relatively low volatility of kerosine and jet fuels, dermal exposure can be a more important route of exposure than exposure via inhalation. During many operations involving aircraft fuel tanks there is a significant potential for dermal exposure. Ingestion occurs primarily as a consequence of accident.


Groups of five male C3H mice were dosed with a single dermal application of 15 or 60 Ī¼L kerosine (30% straight-run hydrotreated and 70% hydrocracked kerosine) spiked with radiolabelled naphthalene or tetradecane, and sacrificed after 96 h exposure (Mobil, 1994). Another group of five male C3H mice were exposed by air to the same compounds and doses in a metabolism cage to determine passive inhalation. The results of the dermal exposure show that 5% of the labelled tetradecane and 15% of the labelled naphthalene was absorbed over 96 h. The inhalation experiments showed that 2.8% of the labelled naphthalene was bioavailable. Comparison of these data with a similar dataset obtained with a 25% concentration of the test compounds diluted in mineral oil, revealed that dilution did not affect the absorption of the test compound.


Four groups of eight male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to 1, 4, 4,or 16 mL kerosine through the abdominal skin for 2 h at a skin area of 4, 4, 16 or 64 cm2, respectively (Tsujino et al., 2003). Before, during and after the experiment, blood samples were taken and analysed for trimethylbenzenes and aliphatic hydrocarbons. Trimethylbenzenes were detectable in blood within 5-20 min and showed a dose dependent absorption. High concentrations of aliphatic hydrocarbons were detected in the exposed skin as compared to the blood concentration and the aliphatic hydrocarbon levels were dependent on the amount of kerosine exposed per unit area.


The systemic distribution of kerosine components in the blood and tissues of rats following in vitro dermal exposures was investigated, using trimethylbenzenes and aliphatic hydrocarbons (C9-C16) as biomarkers (Tsujinoet al., 2002). The trimethylbenzenes were absorbed through the skin and detected in blood and tissues to a greater extent as compared to the aliphatics. The data indicate that kerosine components are absorbed percutaneously and distributed to the various organs via the blood circulation. Distribution of trimethylbenzenes in blood and tissues following dermal exposure is (at decreasing concentrations): kidney > blood > liver > adipose > brain > spleen > lung = muscle. Distribution of aliphatics in blood and tissues following dermal exposure is (at decreasing concentrations): blood > adipose > muscle > lung > liver > kidney > spleen > brain.  


The inhalation studies demonstrate that the volatile kerosine constituents are well absorbed (31 ā€“ 54%) and are distributed mainly in the fat tissue. Aromatics were metabolised at a higher rate than naphthenes, n-alkanes, isoalkanes and 1-alkenes. Dermal application of kerosine or jet fuel generally shows that the aromatics and aliphatics are well absorbed into the skin. Subsequently, the aromatics penetrate the skin at a higher rate than the alkanes. SKINPERM calculations indicate that although skin permeation rates of alkanes, naphthenes and aromatics are more or less comparable, the latency times of alkanes are longer than the latency times of naphthenes and aromatics. After absorption, the kerosine constituents are distributed via the blood circulation to the fat tissue and various organs. Studies with oral exposure to kerosine indicate that gastrointestinal absorption of kerosine is slow and incomplete, resulting in low bioavailability.

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