Prevalence of formaldehyde in indoor air of gross anatomy laboratory and cadaver storage room of a medical college


Shailesh Gahukar, Ujwala Ramteke, Deepanjan Majumdar, Raman Malviya, Dinkar Patil, Jitendra Trivedi, Chalapati Rao, Ashok H. Kale

Aim: Concentration of formaldehyde (FA) which is used to preserve cadavers for dissection in medical colleges was monitored in indoor air including at the breathing level in dissection classes during a 2-week study in a gross anatomy laboratory and also in the cadaver storage room in a Medical College in India in 2012. Materials and Methods: Air samples were collected for 30 min and 3 h to commensurate with World Health Organization (WHO) standard (short-term exposure limit) value of FA (30-min) and dissection class of 3 h duration respectively. Results: FA concentration ranged from 0.11 to 1.07 mg/m3 in the cadaver storage room and 0.06-1.12 mg/m3 in the gross anatomy laboratory. In samples taken at 5 ft height at the breathing level, FA concentration ranged from 0.32 to 0.86 mg/m3. Conclusions: Most of the observed FA levels were found to be above the prescribed FA guideline values laid down by organizations such as OSHA, ACGIH, WHO, Japan Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare and, therefore, could be considered as harmful for students’ and teachers’ health. FA concentrations reported from a few medical facilities in other countries are comparable, implying that some uniform management and control strategies for FA could be contemplated to reduce risks of FA exposure to students and teachers which are discussed in this paper.