Spraying urea solution reduces formaldehyde levels during gross anatomy courses
- 97 Downloads
Formaldehyde (FA) is frequently used to embalm human cadavers that are employed to teach gross anatomy to medical and dental students. However, exposure to FA is harmful to both students and educators. The aim of this study was to reduce the FA levels in the anatomy dissection hall by spraying an FA scavenger solution. We measured the changes in FA levels after administering FA scavenger solutions to liquid, wet paper towels, organs, and cadavers containing FA. Among l-cysteine, N-ethyl urea, and urea, the latter was found to have the strongest scavenging power towards the FA in the liquid. The molar concentration of urea that most efficiently reduced the levels of volatilized FA from the wet paper towels was the same as that of the FA. After spraying the urea solution, the volatilized FA levels immediately decreased, reaching their minimum at 60 min, and remained low even after 240 min. Spraying the urea solution onto the organs reduced the levels of FA volatilized from the surfaces of organs but not those from the insides of the organs. In the dissection hall used for the gross anatomy course at Tokyo Medical University, the FA levels were significantly decreased after spraying the urea solution onto the cadavers. Moreover, dissection could be performed without the cadavers putrefying during the 4-month course. These results indicate that various institutes could use urea solution spray to effectively reduce the FA levels in the dissection hall and thus ensure the safety of students and educators.
KeywordsUrea Spraying Formaldehyde Cadaver Dissection
This study was supported by a grant-in-aid from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (no. 16K19178). In addition, the authors were granted a research grant from Tokyo Medical University in 2016. The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest associated with this work. The authors wish to thank Ms. Miyuki Kuramasu, Ms. Yuka Kobayashi, Ms. Yuki Ogawa, and Mr. Hiroaki Muro for their excellent secretarial assistance. In addition, the authors wish to thank Dr. Shogo Hayashi and Ms. Qu Ning for their excellent technical assistance.
Shinichi Kawata, Eizo Marutani, Shuichi Hirai, and Masahiro Itoh participated in the design of the present study. Shinichi Kawata, Shuichi Hirai, Kenta Nagahori, Takuya Omotehara, Hidenobu Miyaso, and Philipp Pieroh measured and recorded the FA levels volatilized from the cadavers. Eizo Marutani, Shuichi Hirai, and Zhonglian Li were in charge of data analysis. Shinichi Kawata, Shuichi Hirai, Naoyuki Hatayama, and Munekazu Naito prepared the first draft of the manuscript. Shinichi Kawata, Shuichi Hirai, and Masahiro Itoh composed the final version of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Grant sponsor: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; grant number: 16K19178.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans (2006) Formaldehyde, 2-butoxyethanol and 1-tert-butoxypropan-2-ol. IARC Monogr Eval Carcinog Risks Hum 88:1–478Google Scholar
- Jada SS (1988) The structure of urea–formaldehyde resins. J Appl Polym Sci 35(6):1573–1592Google Scholar
- Japan Society for Occupational Health (1988) Formaldehyde. Jpn J Ind Health 30:339–341 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
- Kawamata S (2003) An attempt to reduce formaldehyde in dissecting cadavers. Kaibogaku Zasshi 78:249 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
- Kim H, Kim YD, Cho SH (1999) Formaldehyde exposure levels and serum antibodies to formaldehyde–human serum albumin of Korean medical students. Arch Environ Health 54:115–118Google Scholar
- Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (2013) National Health and Nutrition, Survey. https://www.mhlw.go.jp/houdou/2002/03/h0315-4.html
- Mizuki M, Tsuda T (2001) Relationship between atopic factors and physical symptoms induced by gaseous formaldehyde exposure during an anatomy dissection course. Arerugi 50:21–28 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
- Tanaka K, Nishiyama K, Yaginuma H, Sasaki A, Maeda T, Kaneko SY, Onami T, Tanaka M (2003) Formaldehyde exposure levels and exposure control measures during an anatomy dissecting course. Kaibogaku Zasshi 78:43–51 (in Japanese) Google Scholar
- van der Eerden WJ, van Nie CJ (1981) A method to eliminate free formalin from embalmed human bodies. Acta Morph Neerl Scand 19:307–309Google Scholar
- WHO (1989) Formaldehyde (Environmental Health Criteria EHC-89). Geneva: World Health Organization. http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc89.htm. Accessed 31 Jan 2018