Ambient air and its potential effects on conception in vitro.

TitleAmbient air and its potential effects on conception in vitro.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsCohen J, Gilligan A, Esposito W, Schimmel T, Dale B
JournalHum Reprod
Pagination1742 - 9
Date PublishedAug
Accession Number9308805
KeywordsAir Pollution, Indoor, Environmental Monitoring, Fertilization in Vitro, Humans, Laboratories, Organic Chemicals, Quality Control

Incidences of chemical air contamination (CAC) are common in assisted reproductive technology, but not reported in peer review format. Justified fear of car and industrial emissions clearly exists among reproductive specialists, but standards for air contents and gaseous emission limits have not been reported. Here, we describe air sampling methods and assay systems which can be applied to any laboratory or laboratory item. It was found that unfiltered outside air may be cleaner than high efficiency particulate air filtration (HEPA) filtered laboratory air or air obtained from incubators, due to accumulation of volatile organic compounds derived from adjacent spaces or specific laboratory products such as compressed CO2, sterile Petri dishes and other materials or devices known to release gaseous emissions. Specific groups of products such as anaesthetic gases, refrigerants, cleaning agents, hydrocarbons and aromatic compounds such as benzene and toluene are described. The latter were shown to accumulate specifically in incubators. Isopropyl alcohol was the most dominant product found, though it was not used by the laboratory staff. Concentrations of this agent were low in incubator air, indicating that it was probably absorbed by the water in the pan or by culture medium. Measures to counter CAC are proposed, including the use of activated carbon filters and oxidizing material placed in the central air handling systems, in separate free-standing units or even inside the incubators.

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