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Am J Ind Med. 1996 Mar;29(3):275-77.

Occupational laryngitis caused by formaldehyde: a case report.

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Tampere Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Finland.


Formaldehyde is commonly accepted to be an allergen and irritant. However, specifically diagnosed occupational respiratory diseases caused by formaldehyde are relatively rare. Occupational laryngitis was diagnosed in a 47-year-old dairy foreman. He had been exposed for 9 years to formaldehyde emitted from a milk-packing machine situated underneath his office. His exposure level varied considerably. Under normal process conditions, the measured formaldehyde level was 0.03 mg/m3. The patient was examined by different specialists over 1 1/2 years. It was concluded that he had psychogenic dysphonia. However, a specific laryngeal provocation test with formaldehyde carried out at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health was positive. His laryngitis was so serious that he was pensioned. During the 3 years of follow-up his condition gradually worsened. He now reacts especially to tobacco smoke and other air impurities known to contain formaldehyde.

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