There are very specific limits set by OSHA for exposure to anesthetic gases—not just nitrous oxide but also halogenated gases (halothane, enflurane, isoflurane, desflurane). In fact, halogenated gases may be more hazardous to medical staff than nitrous oxide since some have been implicated in miscarriages, birth defects, cancer, liver and kidney diseases, and sterility.
These exposures can occur in hospitals, outpatient surgery clinics, emergency centers, medical clinics dental offices and veterinary hospitals. OSHA requires that operating room personnel be monitored for anesthetic gases and they have set permissible exposure limits (PELs).
Exposure to waste anesthetic gases can be the result of leaks due to ill-fitting connections and weak or faulty tubing and hoses. Bad habits and lack of procedures and training are also potential culprits.
Atlantic Environmental provides waste anesthesia gas testing/sampling by monitoring individuals during their work hours. We use passive samplers/dosimeters, small devices that clip to the individual’s clothes and measure the rate of exposure to each type of gas/chemical. We interpret the results to determine if and why any exposure problems are occurring, then correct and prevent them. Where problems are identified we can provide recommendations to correct such problems.