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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-84-155-1489, Clara Maass Medical Center, Belleville, New Jersey.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 84-155-1489, 1984 Jul; :1-18
Breathing zone samples were analyzed for formaldehyde (50000) and xylene (1330207) in the histopathology laboratory at Clara Maass Medical Center (SIC-8062) Belleville, New Jersey, in March, 1984. The survey was requested to evaluate reported skin, eye, and throat irritation, lightheadedness, and lethargy among personnel. Ventilation was evaluated. Formaldehyde was detected in all samples. Highest concentrations ranged from 7 to 10 plus parts per million (ppm) during inspection and dissection of formalin preserved tissue specimens. The OSHA 8 hour time weighted average and ceiling limit standards for formaldehyde are 3 and 5ppm, respectively. Average daily exposures to xylene were well below the OSHA standard. General and local exhaust systems were poorly designed. The general ventilation system allowed contaminants generated in the laboratory to spread to other parts of the hospital. The hoods allowed formaldehyde vapors to pass through the laboratory and spread. The hoods allowed formaldehyde vapors to pass through personal breathing zones before being exhausted. The author concludes that histopathology laboratory personnel are exposed to formaldehyde concentrations capable of causing irritative effects. He recommends that the general ventilation system be modified to place the laboratory under negative pressure and the use of laboratory hoods that enclose dissection operations.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazards-Confirmed; Health-care-facilities; Region-2; Laboratory-work; Irritants; Medical-personnel; HETA-84-155-1489; Author Keywords: General Medical and Surgical Hospitals; Formaldehyde; Xylene; Histopathology Laboratory; Eye and Throat Irritation; Ventilation
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division