What is it?
Glutaraldehyde is preservative used as a cold sterilant & disinfectant for medical and dental equipment. It is also used for industrial water treatment and as a chemical & cosmetic preservative.
How do I avoid it?
Skin contact with Glutaraldehyde is required for it to cause a rash. Discontinuation of exposure to products containing Glutaraldehyde should result in improvement and/or resolution of your dermatitis. By law, all products made in the US for topical use have the ingredients listed either on the product package or the box that contains it, so check the labeling of you skin care products for this ingredient. If there is no information ask your pharmacist. At work, request a material safety data sheet (MSDS) to help identify potential sources of exposure. Glutaraldehyde readily permeates rubber gloves. Therefore, wearing protective clothing such as nitrile gloves may be helpful. There are alternative, glutaraldehyde-free solutions which can provide high level disinfection for medical devices.
- Allergy and collagen extracts
- Biocide in metal-working and oil and gas pipelines
- Leather tanning agent
- Cold sterilization for medical, dental, and barber equipment
- Sprays used to sterilize countertops, trays, & equipment
- Slimicide in paper manufacturing
- Skin Care Products / Cosmetics
- Antiperspirants / Deodorants
- Hair sprays, gels, tonics and lotions
- Hair Colorants / “Permanents-Relaxers”
- Soaps / Cleansers
- Shampoos / Conditioners
- Powders / Sprays
- Medication used for treatment of:
- Herpes infections
- Bollous diseases
- Waterless hand cleansers
- in the preparation of dental materials, surgical grafts, and bioprosthesis
- Wallpaper & paper
- Liquid fabric softener
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests ways in which health care workers may be exposed to glutaraldehyde including: Hospital staff who work in areas with a cold sterilizing procedure that uses glutaraldehyde (e.g., gastroenterology or cardiology departments).Hospital staff who work in operating rooms, dialysis departments, endoscopy units, and intensive care units, where glutaraldehyde formulations are used in infection control procedures.Central Supply workers who use glutaraldehyde as a sterilant. Research Technicians, researchers, and pharmacy personnel who either prepare the alkaline solutions or fix tissues in histology and pathology labs.Laboratory workers who sterilize bench tops with glutaraldehyde solutions. Workers who develop x-rays.
Other names for glutaraldehyde:
- 1,3-diformyl propane
- Glutaric aldehyde
- Glutaric dialdehyde
- Glutarolglutaric dialdehyde
Potential cross-reacting/co-reacting substances: