Occupational Exposure and Risk Assessment of Formaldehyde in the Pathology Departments of Hospitals

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Department of Occupational Health, School of Health, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran.

2 Department of Management, West Tehran Branch-Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran.

4 Institute of Medical Advanced Technologies, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran.

5 Department of Environmental Engineering, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

6 Department of Occupational Health, School of Health, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

7 Research Center of Health and Environment, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran.

Abstract

Background and Objective: Exposure to formaldehyde has adverse effects on health both acutely and over the long term (e.g., carcinogenicity). The substance is widely used in pathology and histology departments.  This study focused on cancer risk of formaldehyde in pathology department of five hospitals in Rasht. Materials and Methods: Sampling and determination of formaldehyde in pathology department were carried out based on the NIOSH method of 3500. The working condition and working environment were investigated and a semi quantitative risk assessment were used to health risk assessment of formaldehyde and The individual lifetime cancer probability, which is defined as the increase in the probability of developing cancer during continuous exposure to an air pollutant were used to assess health risks with formaldehyde. Results: The results showed that the exposure level of all subjects were higher than the Occupational Exposure Limit for 8 hours exposure time of formaldehyde. However, in the five occupational groups, the highest weekly exposure index was observed for the Lab Technicians (0.664 ppm) at Hospital no. 5, which could have been due to more daily working hours at this sampling site and a lack of adequate ventilation. The formaldehyde concentration was in the 0.0192 to 0.326 ppm ranges for five hospital pathology departments. The cancer risk ranged from 9.52×10-5 to 1.53×10-3, and it was greater than the WHO acceptable cancer risk level.Conclusions: The results of the risk assessments can be used for managing the chemical exposure of allocated resources for defining control actions. This process plays an important role in reducing the level of exposure to formaldehyde in pathology departments.
 

Keywords

Main Subjects