Formalin safety in anatomic pathology workflow and integrated air monitoring systems for the formaldehyde occupational exposure assessment
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Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy (Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology Laboratory)
University of Florence, Florence, Italy (Department of Health Sciences)
Careggi University Hospital, Florence, Italy (Section of Pathology)
University of Florence, Florence, Italy (Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine)
Careggi University Hospital, Firenze, Italy (Health and Safety Service)
Stefano Dugheri   

Careggi University Hospital, Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology Laboratory, Viale Peraccini 15, 50134 Florence, Italy
Online publication date: 2020-11-24
The potential carcinogenicity of formaldehyde (FA) has prompted increasing preventive measures in anatomic pathology (AP) laboratories and new strategies aimed at innovating airborne FA monitoring systems. This review provides an updated overview of the most recent improvements in preventive measures, safe practices, and exposure monitoring tools in the FA usage and handling. A computer-based search of scientific and non-scientific sources was performed on PubMed, Web of Science, Google and Google Patents databases, querying the main topics of real-time, in-continuous FA monitoring instruments for sale, and commercially available tools for improving preventive measures in formalin management. In order to simplify the sampling process and to choose a better analytic solution to FA assessment, the main characteristics of each FA monitoring instrument were described. The novel technical tools recently introduced on the global market, aimed at reducing FA emissions in AP laboratories, were summarized. This review is directed at anatomic pathologists to draw their attention to the rapidly growing field of safe formalin practices. A repeated exposure assessment is recommended to evaluate technical changes in air monitoring programs to keep FA emissions low, in compliance with the limit value; thus, evolved monitoring devices are needed.