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Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology. Vol. 8, Iss. 31, November 2013

Exposure of health workers in primary health care to glutaraldehyde


Background In order to avoid proliferation of microorganisms, cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation in health centres is of utmost importance hence reducing exposure of workers to biological agents and of clients that attend these health centres to potential infections. One of the most commonly-used chemical is glutaraldehyde. The effects of its exposure are well known in the hospital setting; however there is very little information available with regards to the primary health care domain.

Objective To determine and measure the exposure of health workers in Primary Health Care Centres. Environmental to glutaraldehyde and staff concentration will be measured and compared with regulated Occupational Exposure Limits.

Methods/Design Observational, cross-sectional and multi-centre study. The study population will be composed of any health professionals in contact with the chemical substance that work in the Primary Health Care Centres in the areas of Barcelonès Nord, Maresme, and Barcelona city belonging to the Catalan Institute of Health. Data will be collected from 1) Glutaraldhyde consumption from the previous 4 years in the health centres under study. 2) Semi-structured interviews and key informants to gather information related to glutaraldehyde exposure. 3) Sampling of the substance in the processes considered to be high exposure.

Discussion Although glutaraldehyde is extensively used in health centres, scientific literature only deals with certain occupational hazards in the hospital setting. This study attempts to take an in-depth look into the risk factors and environmental conditions that exist in the primary care workplace with exposure to glutaraldehyde.


amalgam removal, dental amalgam, mercury, mercury vapor, occupational exposure to mercury

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