Dental van test results due out next week

Test results from the seven mobile dental vans removed from Southern District Health Board's service are expected back early next week.

Investigators are travelling to various locations around the district to conduct tests after Canterbury DHB found high levels of formaldehyde in their vans.

Southern DHB medical office of health Dr Marion Poore said the decision was made because of the potentially high exposure to staff.

"Patients are only exposed for such a brief time, but because of the design and ventilation restrictions we were concerned about long term exposure to staff," she said.

Symptoms of exposure included itchy eyes, itchy skin and headaches. "While it is considered negligible, if there has been exposure, at the kind of levels we are thinking, there is no evidence of long-term effects," Poore said.

Formaldehyde is an airborne chemical found in materials such as MDF, particle board and plywood.

The Southern DHB will review the tests results next week before making any decisions to reopen the units.

The Southland Times