SENSOR Occup Lung Dis Bull 2001 Dec; :1-2
This issue of the Bulletin is dedicated to updating you about glutaraldehyde exposure. I was prompted to write this article after NIOSH released a publication on the use of glutaraldehyde in hospitals in June 2001. Given the size of the health care industry in Massachusetts, glutaraldehyde exposure is of particular concern. Case #1- A 54-year-old technician worked in a chronic long-term care facility for over 14 years before developing symptoms of asthma at work. Her duties included sterilizing endoscopy and surgical equipment, which she did in an unventilated unit using a solution containing glutaraldehyde. The solution was stored in open 5-gallon buckets, and the worker did not use a respirator. Case #2 - After 13 years in other positions at the same hospital, a 43- year-old woman developed symptoms of asthma. This change occurred immediately upon being transferred to a new job as an X-ray mammographer. Glutaraldehyde is one of the processing chemicals used to develop X-ray film. Glutaraldehyde has been found to be a strong irritant to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Contact with glutaraldehyde-containing solutions can cause skin sensitization, leading to allergic contact dermatitis. Headaches, nausea, epistaxis, and mucous membrane irritation have also been documented. Vapor inhalation may cause work-related asthma. Glutaraldehyde can also aggravate preexisting asthma. Sensitized individuals may have asthmatic responses after exposure to minute quantities well below the legal exposure limits.
Occupational-diseases; Occupational-health; Lung-disease; Work-environment; Workers; Occupational-exposure; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Bronchial-asthma; Employee-exposure; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Health-care; Disease-prevention; Airway-resistance; Surveillance-programs; Medical-monitoring; Lung-irritants; Health-care-facilities; Aldehydes; X-ray-technicians; Chemical-processing; Case-studies; Employee-exposure; Disinfectants; Medical-equipment; Chemical-cleaning; Exposure-limits
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Occupational Health Surveillance Program, 250 Washington Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02108
SENSOR Occupational Lung Disease Bulletin
Massachusetts State Department of Public Health