Chemical hazards of health care workers

M. Russi, J. Borak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Diverse chemicals are used in health care with potential exposure of many health care workers, particularly in hospital operating rooms, laboratories, pharmacies, and central sterile supply, but also in some ambulatory settings such as dental offices. Anesthetic gases and antineoplastic drugs may have adverse reproductive and other effects, but there are no specific OSHA regulations governing them. Glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde are irritants and may cause allergic sensitization. Formaldehyde is also a known animal carcinogen and is regulated by OSHA. Ethylene oxide, an irritant, sensitizer, and known human carcinogen and reproductive toxicant, and elemental mercury, which principally affects the nervous system and kidneys, are both regulated by OSHA. This article has reviewed the acute and chronic health effects of these chemicals and the recommended guidelines to limit exposure of health care workers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-393
Number of pages25
JournalClinics in Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Volume1
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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