Comparison of Four Different Fuller’s Earth Formulations in Skin Decontamination

Short Title: Fuller’s Earth Efficiency in Skin Decontamination
  • Annick Roul
  • Cong-Anh-Khanh Le
  • Marie-Paule Gustin
  • Emmanuel Clavaud
  • Bernard Verrier
  • Fabrice Pirot
  • Françoise Falson


Industrial accidents, wars and terrorist threats are potential sources of skin contamination by highly toxic chemical warfare agents and manufacturing compounds. Here, we have compared fuller’s earth (FE) time-dependant adsorption capacity and decontamination efficiency of four different formulations for the molecular tracer, 4-cyanophenol (4-CP), in vitro and ex vivo using water decontamination as standard. FE’s adsorption capacity was assessed in vitro for 4-CP aqueous solutions whereas decontamination efficiency was investigated ex vivo by tracking porcine skin 4-CP content using attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR). Decontamination was performed on short exposed porcine skin to 4-CP by application of FE (i) as free powder, (ii) loaded on adhesive tape, (iii) on powdered glove or (iv) in suspension. Removal rate of 4-CP from aqueous solutions correlates with FE’s amount and its contact time. Decontamination efficiency estimated by the percentage of 4-CP recovery from contaminated porcine skin achieved 54% with water, ranged between ~60 and 70% with dry FE and reached ~ 90% with FE suspension. Successful FE’s suspension decontamination, enabling a dramatic reduction of skin contamination after a brief exposure scenario, appears to be rapid and reliable and should be formulated in a new device ready to use for self-application.


4-Cyanophenol Adsorption capacity Fuller’s earth Skin decontamination Fuller‘s earth suspension 





Attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared


Chemical warfare agents


Fuller’s earth


Stratum corneum


Toxic industrial chemicals


Tape stripping




Acknowledgments and Disclosures

Cong-Anh-Khanh LE was supported by Explo’RA Sup region Rhône-Alpes.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annick Roul
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cong-Anh-Khanh Le
    • 1
    • 2
  • Marie-Paule Gustin
    • 3
  • Emmanuel Clavaud
    • 4
  • Bernard Verrier
    • 1
  • Fabrice Pirot
    • 1
    • 2
  • Françoise Falson
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Université de lyon 1, UMR 5305-CNRS/UCBL1; LBTI Lyon and Direction générale de la Sécurité civile et de la gestion des crises Ministère de l’interieurParisFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de galénique industrielle ISPB UCBL1 LyonLyonFrance
  3. 3.Université Lyon 1, CNRS UMR 5308,- Inserm U1111 /UCBL1, ENS LyonLyonFrance
  4. 4.Service départemental d’incendie et de secours de la SavoieSaint Alban-LeysseFrance

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