Di Stefano F, Siriruttanapruk S, McCoach J, Burge PS, Glutaraldehyde: an occupational hazard in the hospital setting, Allergy, 1999;54:1105-1109,

BOHRF Original Authors' Main Conclusions

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Reports series of 24 healthcare workers with respiratory symptoms suggestive of occupational asthma due to glutaraldehyde exposure. The history of asthmatic symptoms was investigated with peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) monitoring, and in 8 subjects, the specific bronchial provocation test (SBPT) was applied as reference standard for diagnosis of occupational asthma. Work environmental levels of glutaraldehyde were measured from air samples. Specific IgE antibodies to glutaraldehyde were measured with a series of glutaraldehyde modified proteins. In the 8 workers who underwent SBPT, the diagnosis of occupational asthma was confirmed by a positive reaction. In 13/16 remaining workers, the serial PEFR monitoring showed a work-related effect. In 3 workers, there was no physiological confirmation of occupational asthma. Measurements of specific IgE antibodies to glutaraldehyde-modified proteins were positive in seven patients (29.1%) according to a cut-off value of 0.88% RAST binding. The presence of atopy to common environmental allergens and smoking was not associated with specific IgE positivity. Authors conclude that report indicates the importance of glutaraldehyde as an occupational hazard among exposed health-care workers. Intervention in the workplace, training of personnel handling this chemical, and accurate health surveillance may reduce the risk of developing occupational asthma due to glutaraldehyde.

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