Human exposure to airborne aldehydes in Chinese medicine clinics during moxibustion therapy and its impact on risks to health

2015-01-21T20:39:15Z (GMT) by Yi-Chyun Hsu How-Ran Chao Shun-I. Shih
<div><p>Many air toxicants, and especially aldehydes, are generated by moxibustion, which means burning <i>Artemisia argyi.</i> Our goal was to investigate indoor-air aldehyde emissions in Chinese medicine clinics (CMCs) during moxibustion to further evaluate the potential health risks, including cancer risk and non-cancer risk, to the medical staff and adult patients. First, the indoor-air-quality in 60 public sites, including 15 CMCs, was investigated. Four CMCs with frequent use of moxibustion were selected from the 15 CMCs to gather the indoor airborne aldehydes in the waiting and therapy rooms. The mean values of formaldehyde and acetaldehyde in the CMCs’ indoor air were 654 and 4230 μg m<sup>−3</sup>, respectively, in the therapy rooms, and 155 and 850 μg m<sup>−3</sup>, respectively, in the waiting rooms. The average lifetime cancer risks (Rs) and non-cancer risks (hazard quotients: HQs) of airborne formaldehyde and acetaldehyde among the CMC medical staff exceeded the acceptable criteria (R < 1.00 × 10<sup>−3</sup> and HQ < 1.00) for occupational workers. The patients’ Rs and HQs were also slightly higher than the critical values (R = 1.00 × 10<sup>−6</sup> and HQ = 1.00). Our results indicate that airborne aldehydes pose a significant threat to the health of medical staff, and slightly affected the patients’ health, during moxibustion in the CMCs.</p></div>