Risk assessment of inhalation exposure to formaldehyde among workers in medical laboratories
Formaldehyde (FA) is widely used in medical laboratories and has been classified by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a group 1 carcinogen. The aim of this study was to assess the health risk of inhalation exposure to formaldehyde among staff in medical laboratories such as those in pathology, anatomy, forensics, and parasitology. A total of 33 staff members were included in the study. Data on FA exposure were collected by air monitoring in the laboratory areas by using Gasmet DX-4030, and the human health risk was assessed by the guidelines of the US. Environmental Protection Agency (2009). The study showed that 21.21% of the personnel exposed to FA had health risks with non-carcinogenic effects (hazard quotient range = 0.02 to 11.4), and with regard to cancer risk, the highest risk was found to be in pathology technicians (6.51×10-4), followed by investigative mortuary personnel, residents (sixth-year medical students), embalming mortuary personnel, and instructors or those working in forensic laboratories (3.25×10-4, 6.07×10-5, 3.39×10-5, and 1.27x 10-5, respectively). Those staff had a higher than acceptable risk of cancer (>10-6). It is recommended that workers’ FA exposure should be reduced by working with formalin in a fume hood, reducing exposure h and using respiratory cartridges.