Safe use of chemicals by professional users and health care specialists

The awareness of Greek professional users and health care specialists regarding the safe use of chemicals was investigated, to be the best of our knowledge, for the first time after the introduction of Regulations (EC) 1907/2006 (REACH) and 1272/2008 (CLP) on chemicals. A total of 200 professional users and 150 health care specialists from various regions of Greece contributed to the use of a closed-ended, anonymous and validated questionnaire. The findings showed that over 85% of the responders were not aware of classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) and 67.8% of the responders were unaware of any changes made in the labelling of the products they were using. The majority (>75%) of individuals were cognisant that they were using hazardous products; however, the perception of hazard varied significantly between the two groups (P=0.012) and statistically were dependent on the educational (P=0.022) and the profession (P=0.014) level. One third of the professional users read the label as the main source of information for the product, while for health care specialists the number increased to 65% and a strong correlation was detected with the educational level (P=0.017). In both groups, 7% of professional users and health care specialists declared that hazard communication through product labelling is not well understood. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is almost universal for health care specialists with women being more sensitive (P=0.041), while 25% of the professional users do not use any PPE. Almost 60% of the health care specialists are required to provide instructions regarding the safe use of chemicals or the action to be undertaken in case of accident. In the latter situation, the National Poisoning Centre is the reference point for information. Limited use of the safety data sheets has been observed both for professional users (18%) and health care specialists (23%). In conclusion, rising awareness campaigns are needed, in collaboration with trade unions and health care professional associations, in order to alert professionals regarding the safe use of chemicals and protect human health and the environment.

Authors: Apatsidou M, Konstantopoulou I, Foufa E, Tsarouhas K, Papalexis P, Rezaee R, Spandidos DA, Kouretas D, Tsitsimpikou C. ; Full Source: Biomedical Reports. 2018 Feb;8(2):160-165. doi: 10.3892/br.2018.1037. Epub 2018 Jan 2.