Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
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.
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