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Neonatal ethanol exposure from ethanol-based hand sanitisers in isolettes
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  • Published on:
    Neonatal ethanol/isopropanol exposure in isolettes
    • Bernard Laubscher, Consultant in paediatrics and neonatology Hôpital Neuchâtelois and University Hospital (CHUV), Lausanne - Switzerlandd
    • Other Contributors:
      • David Vernez, occupational hygienist

    Sir,

    We read Hsieh et al's paper with much interest. In an experimental study of ethanol introduction in an empty isolette, they conclude that neonates in isolettes are at risk of of inadvertent exposure to ethanol from hands cleaned with ethanol-based hand sanitiser.
    We would like to share with the readers of Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal, the results of a similar study conducted in 2011. Measurements of isopropanol/ethanol exposure were conducted for 9 neonates nursed in incubators1. We found very variable exposure profiles with peak isopropanol/ethanol value of 1982, respectively 906 ppm. A wide range of possible exposure situations were also investigated using a one-box dispersion model2. Both our clinical and experimental papers offered different approaches to reduce the potential isopropanol/ethanol exposure for neonates nursed in isolettes.
    We were delighted to read that the results from Hsieh et al. were concordant with our findings. We believe that this new publication gives further evidence and emphasis on the, unfortunately often underestimated, issue of neonatal exposure to gaseous pollutants.

    1 Paccaud et al. Hand-disinfectant alcoholic vapors in incubators. JNPM 4(1):15-19, 2011
    2 Vernez et al. Solvent vapours in incubators: a source of exposure among neonates? Gefahrstoffe -Reinhaltung der Luft 71 (5):209-214, 2011

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.