What is it?
Glutaral (gluteraldehyde) is preservative used as a cold sterilant and disinfectant for medical and dental equipment. It is also used as a chemical and cosmetic preservative.
How do I avoid it?
Skin contact with glutaral (gluteraldehyde) is required for it to cause a rash. Discontinuation of exposure to products containing glutaral (gluteraldehyde) should result in improvement and/or resolution of your dermatitis. By law, all products made in the U.S. for topical use have the ingredients listed either on the product package or the box that contains it, so check the labeling of your skin care products for this ingredient. If there is no information ask your pharmacist. At work, request a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) to help identify potential sources of exposure.
Glutaral (gluteraldehyde) 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
- Electron microscope fixative
- Embalming fluid and tissue fixatives
- Leather tanning agent
- Cold sterilization for medical, dental, and barber equipment
- Sprays used to sterilize countertops, trays, and equipment
- Slimicide in paper manufacturing
- Skin care products/Cosmetics
- Hair sprays, gels, tonics, and lotions
- Hair colorants/“Permanents-relaxers”
- Medication used for treatment of:
- Herpes infections
- Bullous diseases
- Waterless hand cleansers
- X-ray and photographic film processing solutions
- Preparation of dental materials, surgical grafts, and bioprosthesis
- Wallpaper and paper
- Liquid fabric softener
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests ways in which health care workers may be exposed to Glutaral (Gluteraldehyde) including:
- Hospital staff who work in areas with a cold sterilizing procedure that uses glutaral (gluteraldehyde) (eg, 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 glutaral (gluteraldehyde) solutions
- Workers who develop x-rays
Other names for Glutaral (Gluteraldehyde):
- 1,3-diformyl propane
- Glutaric aldehyde
- Glutaric dialdehyde
- Glutarolglutaric dialdehyde
Potential cross-reacting/co-reacting substances: