The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a part of the CDC, offers a free, downloadable brochure on waste anesthetic gases.
Waste anesthetic gases are small amounts of volatile anesthetic gases that leak from the patient's anesthetic breathing circuit into the air of operating rooms during delivery of anesthesia. These gases may also be exhaled by patients recovering from anesthesia. Waste anesthetic gases include both nitrous oxide and halogenated anesthetics such as halothane, enflurane, isoflurane, desflurane and sevoflurane, and methoxyflurane.
Exposure to high concentrations of waste anesthetic gases can include the following health effects:
- Difficulties with judgment and coordination
- Liver and kidney disease
The purpose of the 16-page brochure is to do the following:
- Increase awareness about the adverse health effects of waste anesthetic gases
- Describe how workers are exposed to waste anesthetic gases
- Recommend work practices to reduce these exposures
- Identify methods to minimize leakage of anesthetic gases into the work environment
Download the NIOSH brochure on waste anesthetic gases (pdf) for use in your facility.
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