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Medicina y Seguridad del Trabajo

versión On-line ISSN 1989-7790versión impresa ISSN 0465-546X


AJALLA PUENTE, Katerine Greace; SANDOVAL POLANCO, Claudia; NITU, Mónica  y  SANCHO PRADES, Ana María. Review relationship between occupational exposure to formaldehyde and leukemia. Med. segur. trab. [online]. 2013, vol.59, n.230, pp.112-123. ISSN 1989-7790.

Background: Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, its relationship to an increased risk of leukemia in occupational exposure continues being debated despite several studies. We present a literature review which aim is to know the level of evidence between the possible causal relationship of occupational exposure to formaldehyde and the development of leukemia, through the systematic analysis of the scientific production published from 2008 to 2012. Methods: We performed a literature search in the databases Medline, IBECS, LILACS, CROCHRANE, OSH UPDATE, CISDOC, WEB OF KNOWLEDGE and SCOPUS, using a search strategy based on terms "MeSH". We obtained a total of 302 items, finally it were selected 7 that met all the requirements. Of these, 4 were meta-analyzes, two case-control studies and 1 cohort study. To assign the level of evidence we used the criteria of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). Results: We found elevated risks for high levels of exposure and mortality data also statistically significant for myeloid leukemia with increased number of years of embalming practices. Three meta-analyzes provide high RR for myeloid leukemia. A fourth meta-analysis by excluding proportional mortality studies that the results obtained based on cohort and case-control studies do not suggest an association between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia. Discussion: The available studies have limitations that do not make it possible to establish sufficient levels of evidence confirming the conclusive relationship between formaldehyde exposure and the development of leukemia in workers. Our literature review contains heterogeneous studies in different populations ; we found values of association (RR, OR) greater than 1 in some studies and findings of chromosomal abnormalities in exposed individuals at the workplace. These data provide an interesting basis for future research about the use of accumulated internal dose biomarkers (DNA-formaldehyde adducts, Glutathione-induced DNA by formaldehyde) can better verify this association.

Palabras clave : Formaldehyde; Leukemia; occupational exposure.

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