The HHE Program responded to a request at a hospital regarding concerns from surgical staff about skin and eye symptoms that were thought to be caused by ultraviolet wavelength C (UV-C) radiation produced by ultraviolet lamps. These lamps are mounted on the ceilings of orthopedic operating rooms to aid in intraoperative infection control. HHE Program investigators interviewed employees about possible work-related skin and eye symptoms and used personal dosimeters to measure UV-C exposure to surgical staff during procedures. Investigators also looked at how well personal protective equipment (PPE) protected workers from UV-C radiation. Investigators found that UV-C exposure was 6 to 28 times greater than the NIOSH recommended exposure limit (REL) when dosimeters were placed outside hospital-approved PPE and UV-C exposure was well below the NIOSH REL when dosimeters were placed beneath hospital-approved PPE. Investigators found that skin and eye screening records did not report changes that were thought to be caused by UV-C exposure. HHE Program investigators recommended that facility managers remove UV lamps fixtures in operating rooms to prevent UV-C exposure during procedures and continue annual skin screenings for employees previously exposed to UV-C. Since the NIOSH investigation, the facility has stopped using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation in the operating rooms and relocated the orthopedic operating room suite into an area equipped with laminar airflow, an alternate form of infection control technology. The final report is available at: <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2007-0257-3082.pdf"target="_blank">https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2007-0257-3082.pdf</a>.
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