Presentation Abstract

Title: Evaluation of Chemical Exposures In Mammography X-Ray Development

Author: Sarah Canter

In order to evaluate the exposure of mammography technicians to replenisher and fixer chemicals that may be encountered while using an x-ray developer, air monitoring for acetic acid, ammonia, glutaraldehyde, hydroquinone, and sulfur dioxide was performed at an outpatient mammography unit. Prior to arriving on site, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) were reviewed in order to determine the appropriate chemicals for sampling in this investigation.

The unit normally processes 150-200 films per day. The room which housed the developing machine was used for developing the x-rays, viewing them on light boxes, and for completing patient records and other administrative work duties. Three sets of samples (one personal and two area) were collected during the evaluation. Each set consisted of one sample each for the chemicals listed above. Samples were collected and analyzed in accordance with NIOSH sampling and analytical methods appropriate to each chemical. In order to present a worst-case scenario in terms of exposure, all ventilation was sealed off. The canopy hood was removed from over the developer, and the local exhaust lines for the machine were sealed off. During the sampling period, 74 mammography films were processed. The technician who was wearing the personal sampling pumps processed 35 films while sampling occurred.

Results for all air sampling indicated that the levels of chemicals sampled for were below the level of quantitation for all chemicals except for sulfur dioxide. The range of concentrations for sulfur dioxide were 0.019-0.064 parts per million (ppm). These results indicated that any exposures to acetic acid, ammonia, glutaraldehyde, hydroquinone, or sulfur dioxide were well below current OSHA occupational exposure limits.

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