Formaldehyde level in hospital waste water and risk of cancer

How to cite this article:
Yasri S, Wiwanitkit V. Formaldehyde level in hospital waste water and risk of cancer. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2015;8:223

 

How to cite this URL:
Yasri S, Wiwanitkit V. Formaldehyde level in hospital waste water and risk of cancer. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 Aug 8];8:223. Available from: https://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2015/8/5/223/159842

Dear Sir,

Formaldehyde is classified as a carcinogen. [1] However, presently, it is widely used for many scientific purposes, especially for medical work in hospitals. In hospitals, formaldehyde is widely used in pathology, forensics, and anatomy. An important concern is not only its contamination in the setting of hospital rooms but also in wastes of the hospitals. Indeed, the health hazard due to wastes of hospitals is a serious consideration at present.­ [2] Formaldehyde is a common contaminant in the waste water of hospitals. [2],[3] Cancer risk due to exposure to formaldehyde in the form of wastes from hospitals has never been mentioned, and this is an actual interesting topic. Here, the authors try to estimate the risk of cancer due to exposure to the level of formaldehyde in the waste water of hospitals. In this report, the setting is a large hospital in Thailand. Here, the calculation for the predicted cancer incidence due to exposure to formaldehyde in waste water was performed. The individual lifetime cancer risk was estimated by standard calculation, according to the formula “individual lifetime cancer risk = concentration of formaldehyde in waste water of hospital × lifetime unit risk factor.” The unit risk factor for formaldehyde is equal to 1.3 × 10 -5 m 3 /μg (http://www.daq.state.nc.us/toxics/risk/) (Updated on 30 th March 2015) and the reported concentration of formaldehyde in waste water in the studied setting is equal to 3500 g/30 L (1.16 × 10 8 ppb) or 1.44 10 8 μg/m 3 (conversion factor: 1 ppb = 1.24 μg/m 3 at 25°C) (the data collected from http://www1.si.mahidol.ac.th/km/sites/default/files/2552_159.pdf) (Updated on 30 th March 2015). Hence, the calculated individual lifetime cancer risk is 1.87 × 10 3 . Based on the derived data, it means that contact with formaldehyde in the waste water of hospitals can induce cancer in anyone who is exposed to it. Without good control measure, this can be a big hazard to the communities living near the hospital.

References

 

1.
Nielsen GD, Wolkoff P. Cancer effects of formaldehyde: A proposal for an indoor air guideline value. Arch Toxicol 2010;84:423-46.
2.
Boillot C, Bazin C, Tissot-Guerraz F, Droguet J, Perraud M, Cetre JC, et al. Daily physicochemical, microbiological and ecotoxicological fluctuations of a hospital effluent according to technical and care activities. Sci Total Environ 2008;403:113-29.
3.
Jobst D, Botzenhart K. Residues of disinfectants in hospital sewage. Zentralbl Bakteriol Mikrobiol Hyg B 1984;180:21-37.

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.159842

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