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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-86-226-1769, Montgomery Hospital, Norristown, Pennsylvania.
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 86-226-1769, 1987 Jan; :1-19
In response to a request from Montgomery Hospital (SIC-8062), Norristown, Pennsylvania, an evaluation was made of possible worker exposures to glutaraldehyde (111308) while disinfecting respiratory therapy equipment, bronchoscopes, physical therapy whirlpool tubs, surgical instruments, and anesthesia equipment parts. Breathing zone sample results ranged from none detected to 1.6mg/m3. Two results were greater than the 0.7mg/m3 ceiling evaluation criterion and a third value was 0.6mg/m3 averaged over a 15 minute exposure period. A health hazard was confirmed in the small animal research study area where glutaraldehyde was used as a sterilant and disinfectant of respiratory equipment. Concentrations of glutaraldehyde in eight personal breathing zone samples ranged from none detected to 1.5mg/m3. Six of these samples exceeded the acceptable limit. Questionnaires revealed that nine of 11 exposed workers reported irritative symptoms compatible with exposure to glutaraldehyde. Eye and throat irritation were the most prevalent. The author concludes that a health hazard existed from glutaraldehyde during disinfection and sterilizing procedures. The author recommends substitution of less hazardous materials for glutaraldehyde where possible, construction of a workstation with adequate local exhaust ventilation for glutaraldehyde use, installation of a dilution ventilation system in the whirlpool room, use of a long handled applicator for cleaning the whirlpool facilities, and use of personal protective clothing when handling glutaraldehyde.
NIOSH-Author; HETA-86-226-1769; Region-3; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazard-Confirmed; Disinfectants; Health-care-personnel; Aldehydes; Hospital-equipment;
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