Biological markers for formaldehyde exposure in mortician students. Report II: extent of exposure.
Boeniger MF; Stewart P
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, IWS 125-27, 1992 May; :1-45
The extent of airborne formaldehyde (50000) exposure was determined in 31 students enrolled at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. A total of 150 personal airborne exposure measurements were collected on students who were performing embalmments during a laboratory embalming course. Air sampling was accomplished using a passive monitoring device. The overall airborne formaldehyde concentration over the exposure period averaged 1.4 parts per million (ppm) as a time weighted average (TWA), and ranged from 0.15 to 9.2ppm. Short term exposure measurements to formaldehyde were three to nine times greater than the corresponding TWA. The OSHA permissible exposure limit on airborne formaldehyde was 1ppm as an 8 hour TWA. The average exposure duration to formaldehyde was 125 minutes. Cumulative individual exposures during a 12 week period ranged from 4 to 82ppm hours. The extent of formaldehyde skin absorption during continuous, full hand exposure to embalming fluid for 2 hours was estimated to be 98.4 milligrams. The authors conclude that the level of airborne formaldehyde in the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science embalming laboratory may exceed the 8 hour TWA permissible exposure limit. The authors recommend that modifications of the ventilation design in the laboratory may significantly lower airborne formaldehyde concentrations.
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