From: "Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety" <secretary**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Exposure to volatile organic compounds in healthcare settings
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 15:42:31 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 2B187653-2551-41CD-9C11-A770FB5339D0**At_Symbol_Here**

Exposure to volatile organic compounds in healthcare settings

Objectives: To identify and summarise volatile organic compound (VOC) exposure profiles of healthcare occupations.

Methods: Personal (n=143) and mobile area (n=207) evacuated canisters were collected and analysed by a gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer to assess exposures to 14 VOCs among 14 healthcare occupations in five hospitals. Participants were volunteers identified by their supervisors. Summary statistics were calculated by occupation. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to reduce the 14 analyte inputs to five orthogonal factors and identify occupations that were associated with these factors. Linear regressions were used to assess the association between personal and mobile area samples.

Results Exposure: profiles differed among occupations; ethanol had the highest geometric mean (GM) among nursing assistants (=E2=88=BC4900 and =E2=88=BC1900 =B5g/m3, personal and area), and 2-propanol had the highest GM among medical equipment preparers (=E2=88=BC4600 and =E2=88=BC2000 =B5g/m3, personal and area). The highest total personal VOC exposures were among nursing assistants (=E2=88=BC9200 =B5g/m3), licensed practical nurses (=E2=88=BC8700 =B5g/m3) and medical equipment preparers (=E2=88=BC7900 =B5g/m3). The influence of the PCA factors developed from personal exposure estimates varied by occupation, which enabled a comparative assessment of occupations. For example, factor 1, indicative of solvent use, was positively correlated with clinical laboratory and floor stripping/waxing occupations and tasks. Overall, a significant correlation was observed (r=0.88) between matched personal and mobile area samples, but varied considerably by analyte (r=0.23-0.64).

Conclusions: Healthcare workers are exposed to a variety of chemicals that vary with the activities and products used during activities. These VOC profiles are useful for estimating exposures for occupational hazard ranking for industrial hygienists as well as epidemiological studies.

Source: Ryan F LeBouf, M Abbas Virji, Rena Saito, Paul K Henneberger, Nancy Simcox, Aleksandr B Stefaniak. Occup Environ Med. 2014.

Ralph Stuart
Division of Chemical Health and Safety
American Chemical Society

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