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Utility of the complete blood count in routine medical surveillance for ethylene oxide exposure.
LaMontagne AD; Christiani DC; Kelsey KT
Am J Ind Med 1993 Aug; 24(2):191-206
Ethylene-oxide (75218) (EtO) medical surveillance was provided for sterilization workers at a 300 bed hospital over a period of 6 years. Workers completed occupational and medical histories, and received a physical examination and a complete blood count five times over the period. A persistent relative lymphocytosis was observed in these workers over a 3 to 4 year period. In general, 14 people were employed in the sterilization department at any one time, each rotating through EtO sterilization duties. Maintenance workers involved with or working near the units were also included in the study. The average EtO concentrations over 6 years in the area were below 0.1 parts per million (ppm). Occasional higher excursions were noted of variable magnitude. For 16 of the 36 workers who participated at least once in the personal monitoring, the mean time weighted average exposure over 8 hours was 0.07ppm. Most occupational and medical histories and physicals were normal. Several workers in 1985 and 1987 reported a history of apparent exposure related eye, nose and throat irritation. Study participants demonstrated significant anxiety about the potential reproductive and carcinogenic effects of EtO. The authors suggest that leukocyte differential may not be useful in routine medical surveillance for EtO exposure.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Cancer; Blood-analysis; Blood-cells; Health-care-personnel; Respiratory-irritants; Reproductive-system-disorders; Medical-monitoring; Occupational-exposure
Environmental Health Harvard School of Public Hlth 665 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts
Page last reviewed: September 25, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division