A Review on Chemical Exposure and Related Health Risks in Laboratory Workers

실험실 근무자의 화학물질 노출과 건강 위험

Byun, Hyae-Jeong;Park, Jeong-Im

  • Received : 2010.11.09
  • Accepted : 2010.12.28
  • Published : 2010.12.30


Researchers who work in science and engineering R&D laboratories are commonly exposed to a wide range of chemical, biological and physical hazards. They also may adopt ergonomically poor postures for long periods of time. These factors may increase the risk of adverse health outcomes in laboratory workers. Recently, there were several fatal accidents in the laboratories in universities and research institutes in Korea. Consequently, the 'Laboratory Safety Act' was enacted in 2006. However, there are concerns about the health risk associated with chronic exposures to hazards, as the management measures provided in this Act are very limited, focusing primarily on accident prevention and compensation for lab work-related accidents. In this article, the methods for assessing exposure to chemicals in laboratory environments are discussed. Also, epidemiological studies examining the association between laboratory exposure and health effects, including cancer and reproductive toxicity are extensively reviewed. Finally, the possible roles of environmental health professionals in this area are suggested, along with a list of critical research needs for properly assessing laboratory workers' exposure and risk.


laboratory worker;exposure assessment;health effects;research needs


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Grant : 기초연구사업

Supported by : 한국연구재단