Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine   Official publication of Indian Association of  0ccupational  Health  
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 37-41

Contact sensitization to formaldehyde in veterinary medicine – An unexplored field in occupational health

1 Medical College, Iordanka Filaretova, Medical University, Sofia, Bulgaria
2 Department of Internal Noninfectious Diseases, Pathology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Forestry, Sofia, Bulgaria
3 Department of Image and Oral Diagnostics, Faculty of Dental Medicine, Medical University, Sofia, Bulgaria

Correspondence Address:
Assoc. Prof. Maya G Lyapina
Medical College, “Iordanka Filaretova,” Medical University, 3 “Iordanka Filaretova” Street, 1660, Sofia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_156_18

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Background: Veterinary staff and students could be exposed to formaldehyde – a ubiquitous agent, common cause of contact allergy. Aim: To evaluate the incidence of contact sensitization to formaldehyde in exposures in veterinary medicine. Settings and Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted during July–December 2017. Materials and Methods: A total of 206 individuals were included, patch tested with formaldehyde 1.0%/aq – 36 veterinary medicine students, 20 veterinarians, 47 students and 28 trainees of dental medicine, 41 dental professionals, and 35 non-occupationally exposed individuals. Results: The incidence of contact sensitization to formaldehyde among the whole studied population was 48.1%, highest being among the students of veterinary medicine (94.4%) and the veterinarians (85%). With very high significance, the sensitization incidence was higher in the groups of students of veterinary medicine and veterinarians, if compared to the control group (P < 0.001); (P = 0.004), dental professionals (P < 0.001); (P = 0.001), trainees of dental medicine (P < 0.001); (P = 0.005), and students of dental medicine three-fourth year of education (P < 0.001); (P = 0.001). Significantly, higher was the incidence of contact allergy in the control group if compared to those of dental professionals (P = 0.033) and dental students three-fourth year of education (P = 0.028). Conclusions: The exposure to formaldehyde during the education in veterinary medicine and practice could be an important risk factor for the onset of contact sensitization. Stricter preventive measures are needed to reduce veterinary student's and lecturer's exposures. Equipment of dissection tables with local exhaust ventilation system could reduce the concentration of formaldehyde in the gross anatomy laboratory.


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