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Methodology to reduce formaldehyde exposure during laboratory fumigation

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Publication details

JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH)
DatePublished - 20 Nov 2012
Issue number5
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)400-406
Original languageEnglish


Laboratory fumigations achieve disinfection and are performed following the non-contained release of infectious agents. Gaseous formaldehyde remains the most commonly used fumigant but evidence relates formaldehyde exposure to the development of nasopharyngeal cancer. Laboratory personnel must be confident and competent in the procedure to protect themselves, others and the environment. The present study outlines methodology to reduce worker exposure to formaldehyde during essential fumigation training. A simulation fumigation protocol significantly shorter than a genuine fumigation was devised using aromatic cajuput oil to train staff in the fumigation technique without potentially harmful exposure to formaldehyde. Personnel reported increased confidence and compliance of the fumigation procedure after the simulation suggesting that this model protocol would be a valuable training tool for any individual that may be required to undertake genuine formaldehyde fumigations.

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