Skin toxicity of surfactants: structure/toxicity relationships

Abstract : The skin toxicity of four ionic surfactants and fourteen non-ionic surfactants was investigated so as to disclose structure/toxicity relationships. The skin toxicity was assessed by means of four in vitro assays, MU and LDH test of cell viability, and detection of the inflammation markers IL-1 alpha. and IL-8. Several descriptors of the physicochemical properties of the surfactants were measured in order to find out those molecular descriptors that correlate with the toxicity measured on skin. Principal component analysis and analysis of the matrix of Pearson's correlation coefficients were used for the search of the molecular descriptors having the highest relevance. There was a definite difference between ionic and non-ionic surfactants. Ionic surfactants are the most toxic if they are soluble in water. Crystalline ionic surfactants of low solubility show low toxicity. The sign of the charge, anionic or cationic, does not matter. The value of the CMC that has been put forward as a highly relevant parameter does not account for the full skin toxicities observed; the CMC of non-ionic surfactants is not a parameter of relevance. For non-ionic surfactants, the nature of the chemical bond linking the polar head group and the alkyl chain has a significant impact on skin toxicity; PEG ethers appear more toxic than PEG esters. The results revealed the mildness of polyoxyethylene sorbitan esters whatever be their alkyl chain length. On the other hand, for sucrose ester surfactants, C12 alkyl length resulted in the greatest skin toxicity. Since the molecular parameters of ionic, non-ionic, water-soluble and crystalline surfactants are different, a universal parameter was introduced, the order parameter describing the orientation ordering of surfactant molecules at interfaces. The highly ordered organization of crystalline surfactants associated with their low solubility in water makes them very low-irritant surfactants.
Type de document :
Article dans une revue
Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, Elsevier, 2015, 469, pp.166-179. 〈10.1016/j.colsurfa.2015.01.019〉
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Soumis le : mercredi 26 août 2015 - 12:11:41
Dernière modification le : jeudi 14 février 2019 - 13:58:05




Emmanuelle Lemerya, Stéphanie Briançon, Yves Chevalier, Claire Bordes, Thierry Oddos, et al.. Skin toxicity of surfactants: structure/toxicity relationships. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, Elsevier, 2015, 469, pp.166-179. 〈10.1016/j.colsurfa.2015.01.019〉. 〈hal-01187182〉



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