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Médecine du travail du personnel hospitalier

The Effect of Work Practices on Personal Exposure to Glutaraldehyde among Health Care Workers.

Ind Health. 2007 Apr;45(2):289-95.
The Effect of Work Practices on Personal Exposure to Glutaraldehyde among Health Care Workers.
Nayebzadeh A.
Occupational Health and Safety Consultant.

Glutaraldehyde is a potential sensitizer and has been implicated in the literature as a cause of respiratory irritation and asthma among health care workers. In order to evaluate the effect of work practices and general ventilation system on employees’ peak exposure to glutaraldehyde, 42 breathing zone personal air samples were taken in five hospitals. In addition, work practices were observed and recorded during the course of sampling and were classified into three categories. Presence of local or general ventilation system, air change per hour, and quantity of glutaraldehyde used were also recorded. Geometric mean concentration of all samples was 0.025 ppm (GSD=3.05). Statistical analysis indicated that work practice was the most important factor affecting the level of exposure to glutaraldehyde. In locations where « poor » or « unsafe » work practices were employed, the geometric mean concentrations were much higher (GM=0.05, GSD=2.11 and GM 0.08, GSD=1.52, respectively). The result has indicated higher prevalence of headache and itchy eyes among employees who worked where unsafe work practices were observed. Employing proper work practices can significantly reduce exposure to glutaraldehyde among health care workers. It has been recently proposed that the current occupational exposure limit of 0.2 ppm shall be reduced to either 0.1 or 0.05 ppm in the province of Quebec (Canada). In this case, it is likely that concentration levels higher than these levels be experienced in some workplaces. Therefore, it is imperative that employers initiate necessary corrective action immediately.

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