Occupational Asthma Reference

Di Stefano F, Siriruttanapruk S, McCoach JS, Burge PS, Occupational asthma due to glutaraldehyde., Monaldi Arch Chest Dis, 1998;53:50-55,

Keywords: UK, occupational asthma, glutaraldehyde, healthcare worker, biocide, review

Known Authors

Sherwood Burge, Oasys Sherwood Burge

Jennifer McCoach (now Croft), Oasys Jennifer McCoach (now Croft)

Somkiat Siriruttanapruk, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand Somkiat Siriruttanapruk

Fabio Di Stefano, Ospedale G.Bernabeo, Ortona Fabio Di Stefano

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In recent years glutaraldehyde has emerged as the main cause of occupational asthma among healthcare workers. Presently glutaraldehyde is the best biocide agent for high-level disinfection and cold sterilization and its use has become widespread in hospitals. Surveillance schemes in the UK, Finland and the USA have reported an increasing number of cases of occupational asthma due to glutaraldehyde. The real magnitude of the problem is not well known as epidemiological studies carried out on a large scale among healthcare workers are not yet available. In countries where surveillance schemes are implemented, reports of occupational asthma cases due to glutaraldehyde should be circumstantiated by more diagnostic details and the diagnosis confirmed by objective means, to avoid an overestimation of frequency of disease. The pathogenetic mechanisms of occupational asthma due to glutaraldehyde are debatable as with other low molecular weight chemicals. A recent study has documented the first evidence of immunological sensitization in healthcare workers exposed to this chemical. Occupational asthma caused by glutaraldehyde can develop at levels of exposure well below the standards accepted in most countries. In the UK the Occupational Exposure Standard (OES) of this agent will be lowered from 0.2 ppm (parts of vapour per million parts of air by volume) to 0.05 ppm. Substitution of glutaraldehyde with an alternative agent is not currently feasible. Intervention in the workplace and education of personnel handling this chemical remain irreplaceable parts of any prevention strategy. Early detection of disease and prompt removal of personnel from further exposure are the only ways of avoiding any deterioration of occupational asthma.

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you state that there have been reports of immunological sensitization due to the use of gluteraldehyde. my sister is currently at death's door due to working with this substance and her liver biopsy showed traces of gluteraldeyde . could this be the reason her liver is failing? she currently has only 10% function. please help she really needs it the doctors here in liverpool england do not know how to treat her

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