Suh M, Troese MJ, Hall DA, Yasso B, Yzenas JJ, Proctor DM. 2014. Evaluation of electric arc furnace-processed steel slag for dermal corrosion, irritation, and sensitization from dermal contact. J Appl Toxicol 34(12):1418-1425. DOI: 10.1002/jat.2974.
Electric arc furnace (EAF) steel slag is alkaline (pH of ~11–12) and contains metals, most notably chromium and nickel, and thus has potential to cause dermal irritation and sensitization at sufficient dose. Dermal contact with EAF slag occurs in many occupational and environmental settings because it is used widely in construction and other industrial sectors for various applications including asphaltic paving, road bases, construction fill, and as feed for cement kilns construction. However, no published study has characterized the potential for dermal effects associated with EAF slag. To assess dermal irritation, corrosion and sensitizing potential of EAF slag, in vitro and in vivo dermal toxicity assays were conducted based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guidelines. In vitro dermal corrosion and irritation testing (OECD 431 and 439) of EAF slag was conducted using the reconstructed human epidermal (RHE) tissue model. In vivo dermal toxicity and delayed contact sensitization testing (OECD 404 and 406) were conducted in rabbits and guinea pigs, respectively. EAF slag was not corrosive and not irritating in any tests. The results of the delayed contact dermal sensitization test indicate that EAF slag is not a dermal sensitizer. These findings are supported by the observation that metals in EAF slag occur as oxides of low solubility with leachates that are well below toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) limits. Based on these results and in accordance to the OECD guidelines, EAF slag is not considered a dermal sensitizer, corrosive or irritant.