Assessment of occupational exposure of medical personnel to inhalatory anesthetics in Poland
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Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. J. Nofera / Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Łódź, Poland (Zakład Bezpieczeństwa Chemicznego / Chemical Safety Department)
Małgorzata Kucharska   

Zakład Bezpieczeństwa Chemicznego, Instytut Medycyny Pracy im. prof. J. Nofera, ul. św. Teresy od Dzieciątka Jezus 8, 91-348 Łódź
Med Pr 2014;65(1):43–54
Objectives: Despite common use of inhalatory anesthetics, such as nitrous oxide (N2O), halothane, sevoflurane, and the like, occupational exposure to these substances in operating theatres was not monitored in Poland until 2006. The situation changed when maximum admissible concentration (MAC) values for anesthetics used in Poland were established in 2005 for N2O, and in 2007 for sevoflurane, desflurane and isoflurane. The aim of this work was to assess occupational exposure in operating rooms on the basis of reliable and uniform analytical procedures. Material and Methods: The method for the determination of all anesthetics used in Poland, i.e. nitrous oxide, sevoflurane, isoflurane, desflurane, and halothane, was developed and validated. The measurements were performed in 2006-2010 in 31 hospitals countrywide. The study covered 117 operating rooms; air samples were collected from the breathing zone of 146 anesthesiologists, and 154 nurses, mostly anaesthetic. The measurements were carried out during various surgical operations, mostly on adult patients but also in hospitals for children. Results: Time weighted average concentrations of the anesthetics varied considerably, and the greatest differences were noted for N2O (0.1-1438.5 mg/m3); 40% of the results exceeded the MAC value. Only 3% of halothane, and 2% of sevoflurane concentrations exceeded the respective MAC values. Conclusions: Working in operating theatres is dangerous to the health of the operating staff. The coefficient of combined exposure to anesthesiologists under study exceeded the admissible value in 130 cases, which makes over 40% of the whole study population. Most of the excessive exposure values were noted for nitrous oxide. Med Pr 2014;65(1):43–54