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Chris Packham

EnviroDerm Services (UK) Ltd

Chris Packham will be a Keynote presenter at the 7th Occupational and Environmental Exposure of Skin to Chemicals (OEESC) Conference.  He will be speaking on the Practical Aspects of Controlling Skin Exposure.

Over thirty years experience and knowledge acquisition on the interaction between the (working) environment and the skin combined with his wide ranging experience in many different technical environments (e.g. oil and gas, precision engineering, pneumatics, metalworking and metal forming, laboratory equipment, compressed air, etc.) gives Chris the ability to identify where risks of damage to health due to skin exposure occur and to devise methods to eliminate or adequately control such exposure. Chris also has considerable experience in working with dermatologists and occupational physicians in investigating suspected occupational skin problems and finding ways that these can then be managed.

Chris is a member of the European Society of Contact Dermatitis, a Fellow of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management and the Royal Society of Public Health. He is a member of the British Occupational Hygiene Society, the British Cutaneous Allergy Society and an Associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Chris is also well known for his lectures and courses, where he works together with his daughter (Dr. Helen Taylor), a specialist in techniques for skin condition measurement. We now have instruments that can detect sub-clinical damage so that those concerned can take a proactive approach to skin management.

Chris was recently described by a leading European dermatologist as: “the international expert in the field of risk assessment in occupational settings related to skin hazards.”

New developments in control of exposure

Before we can start to identify, develop, evaluate and implement measures to control skin exposure we need to be clear about what we are trying to control. This is not as simple a question as may, at first, appear.

The interaction between the skin and our environment is extremely complex. Many different factors can, either individually or in combinations, affect our skin, and through the skin, internal organs and systems. For example we can have both simultaneous physical and chemical skin exposure which, combined, could result in damage to the health of the person so exposed. Modern knowledge makes it clear that the ‘traditional’ approach of considering skin, inhalation and ingestion as separate is incorrect, but we still do not know enough about the interaction between these and the effect on the skin to be able to apportion the significance of each type of exposure. When we add in other factors, such as psychosomatic reactions, personal predisposition (e.g. atopy), etc. the question as to how and to what extent we need to control exposure of one or more individuals becomes a matter of judgement.

In order to be able to decide how and to what extent we should control exposure we need firstly to be certain that our risk assessment has correctly identified the hazard, extent of exposure, route of exposure and its significance. Only then can we decide what is needed to effectively manage the exposure so as to protect the health of the person or persons exposed. We can then investigate current technology to establish what are our options.

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