Chemical hazards in radiology

G. E. Byrns, K. H. Ciacco Palatianos, L. A. Shands, K. P. Fennelley, C. S. McCammon, A. Y. Boudreau, P. N. Breysse, C. S. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A variety of chemicals are used in medical imaging as developer and fixer ingredients, germicides, and cleaning agents. Glutaraldehyde, a potent sensitizer, may cause occupational skin and respiratory diseases in exposed individuals. Poor ventilation, unsafe practices, and lack of hazard recognition may contribute to occupational asthma and other respiratory disease in susceptible medical imaging personnel. Failure to respond effectively to initial health complaints and reduce exposure levels can have serious consequences for affected employees. It is therefore important for occupational safety and health professionals to alert health facility managers to potential dangers and to recommend effective intervention strategies. When problems are identified, a multidisciplinary team approach is the best method for evaluating and controlling hazards. This team should include industrial hygienists, safety staff, occupational medicine physicians, mechanical and ventilation engineers, personnel specialists, and medical imaging staff. A thorough hazard assessment, medical diagnosis, and administrative personnel actions are critical to effective problem identification and correction. In the case of chemical sensitization, removal of the affected employee may be necessary. By working with designers and equipment installers to monitor compliance with appropriate codes and manufacturers’ specifications, hazards can be prevented. We present additional operations, ventilation, and design improvements to reduce chemical exposures to radiology employees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-208
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


  • Chemical Sensitivity
  • Darkroom Disease
  • Glutaraldehyde
  • Medical Imaging
  • Radiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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