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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 33-37

Preliminary study: Formaldehyde exposure in laboratories of Sharjah university in UAE


Department of Environmental Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence Address:
Hafiz Omer Ahmed
Department of Environmental Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah
United Arab Emirates
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.82997

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Objectives : Laboratory technicians, students, and instructors are at high risk, because they deal with chemicals including formaldehyde. Thus, this preliminary study was conducted to measure the concentration of formaldehyde in the laboratories of the University of Sharjah in UAE. Materials and Methods: Thirty-two air samples were collected and analyzed for formaldehyde using National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) method 3500. In this method, formaldehyde reacts with chromotropic acid in the presence of sulfuric acid to form a colored solution. The absorbance of the colored solution is read in spectrophotometer at wavelength 580 nm and is proportional to the quantity of the formaldehyde in the solution. Results: For the anatomy laboratory and in the presence of the covered cadaver, the mean concentration of formaldehyde was found to be 0.100 ppm with a range of 0.095-0.105 ppm. Whereas for the other laboratories, the highest mean concentration of formaldehyde was 0.024 ppm in the general microbiology laboratory and the lowest mean concentration of formaldehyde was 0.001 ppm in the environmental health laboratory. The 8-hour (time-weighted average) concentration of formaldehyde was found to be ranging between 0.0003 ppm in environmental health laboratory and 0.026 ppm in the anatomy laboratory. Conclusions: The highest level of concentration of formaldehyde in the presence of the covered cadaver in anatomy laboratory exceeded the recommended ceiling standard established by USA-NIOSH which is 0.1 ppm, but below the ceiling standard established by American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists which is 0.3 ppm. Thus, it is recommended that formaldehyde levels should be measured periodically specially during the dissection in the anatomy laboratory, and local exhaust ventilation system should be installed and personal protective equipment such as safety glass and gloves should be available and be used to prevent direct skin or eye contact.






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