Nurse and glutaraldehyde


An NHS hospital nurse worked in the operating theatre. She was diagnosed with occupational asthma, caused by glutaraldehyde disinfectant.

HSE investigation

HSE investigated, the nurse had no history of asthma when she started her job. But her symptoms were discovered later through health surveillance. This involved a questionnaire and lung function test.

Her symptoms included nasal irritation, wheeze and breathlessness. These effects disappeared quickly after she stopped working with glutaraldehyde.


The NHS Trust admitted guilt and was fined £3,000. The Trust no longer uses glutaraldehyde.

Since the change in work, the nurse had no lasting effects, and has continued with her hospital career.

The Your trade section of this site provides top tips and advice on how to protect yourself if you are a healthcare worker

Is this page useful?