Exposure to formaldehyde and phenol during an anatomy dissecting course: sensitizing potency of formaldehyde in medical students
Article first published online: 9 OCT 2008
Volume 55, Issue 1, pages 84–87, January 2000
How to Cite
Wantke, F., Focke, M., Hemmer, W., Bracun, R., Wolf-Abdolvahab, S., Götz, M., Jarisch, R., Götz, M., Tschabitscher, M., Gann, M. and Tappler, P. (2000), Exposure to formaldehyde and phenol during an anatomy dissecting course: sensitizing potency of formaldehyde in medical students. Allergy, 55: 84–87. doi: 10.1034/j.1398-9995.2000.00307.x
- Issue published online: 9 OCT 2008
- Article first published online: 9 OCT 2008
- Accepted for publication 30 August 1999
- anatomy dissecting rooms;
- IgE/IgG-mediated sensitization;
- indoor air;
- irritant reactions;
Background: The sensitizing potency of formaldehyde and phenol during anatomy dissecting was investigated. The objective was to determine whether exposure induces specific IgE or IgG against formaldehyde-albumin or phenol-albumin.
Methods: In 27 medical students, specific IgE against formaldehyde-albumin by RAST plus ELISA and specific lgE against phenol-albumin by ELISA were assessed. In addition, specific IgG against formaldehyde-albumin was assessed in 23 students. Symptoms before and during dissecting were assessed, and indoor formaldehyde and phenol were measured.
Results: Mean indoor formaldehyde was 0.265±0.07 mg/m3, and mean indoor phenol was 4.65±2.96 mg/m3. Specific IgE/IgG against formaldehyde-albumin was not found at the beginning. Four students developed specific IgE against formaldehyde-albumin (RAST classes of ≥2.0), and all four also had specific IgE in the ELISA, but IgG against formaldehyde-albumin was not found. Specific IgE against phenol-albumin was not seen. Itch and paresthesia of the hands (PP<0.00001), dizziness (P<0.008), burning eyes (P<0.01), headache, sneezing, epistaxis, gingival bleeding, oral or pharyngeal itch, and shortness of breath were experienced.
Conclusion: Formaldehyde exposure during dissecting may induce specific IgE, but not IgG, against formaldehyde-albumin. Sensitization did not correlate with symptoms.