Measurement and Control of Air Pollution by Anaesthetic Gases and Vapours

  • A. G. L. Burm
  • J. Spierdijk
  • V. Rejger


Chronic exposure to low concentrations of waste anaesthetic gases is generally regarded as a potential danger to the personnel working in operating-theatres, recovery rooms and other rooms where inhalation anaesthetics are used regularly, as well as to their progeny (Spierdijk and Burm 1982; Cohen 1980). Although the reports on the detrimental effects of waste anaesthetics are not conclusive, it is strongly recommended that the degree of air pollution be reduced as much as possible (Spierdijk and Burm 1982; Cohen 1980; Oehmig 1978; Niosh 1977). Furthermore, it is good practice to check the effectiveness of the systems (scavenging systems or closed circuits) that have been installed to reduce air pollution by measuring the remaining concentrations to which the personnel are exposed. The methods that have been developed in our department to measure exposure levels and to control anaesthetic pollution are described below.


Nitrous Oxide Terminal Point Pipeline System Scavenge System Disposal System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Burm AGL, Spierdijk J (1979) A method for sampling halothane and enflurane present in trace amounts in ambient air. Anesthesiology 50:230–233PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burm AGL, Spierdijk J, Rejger V (1976) Concentrations of anaesthetic agents in the air in operating rooms. In: Spierdijk H, Feldman SA, Mattie H (eds) Anaesthesia and pharmacology. Boerhaave Series No 12. University Press, Leiden, pp 263–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burm AGL, Spierdijk J, Rejger V, Strokap H (1982) A central low vacuum pipeline system for the disposal of waste anaesthetic gases. Anaesthetist 31:200–203Google Scholar
  4. Cohen EN (1980) Anesthetic exposure in the workplace. MTP Press (Ltd), LancasterGoogle Scholar
  5. Enderby DH, Booth AM, Churchill-Davidson HC (1978) Removal of anaesthetic waste gases. Anaesthesia 33:820–826PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gostomzyk JG, Eisele G, Ahnefeld FW (1973) Chronische Narkosebelastung des Anaesthesiepersonals im Operationssaal. Anaesthetist 22:469–474Google Scholar
  7. Hallen B, Ehrner-Samuel H, Thomason M (1970) Measurement of halothane in the atmosphere of an operating room and in expired air and blood of the personnel during routine anaesthetic work. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 14:17–27PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Halliday NM, Carter KB (1978) A chemical adsorption system for the sampling of gaseous organic pollutants in operating room atmospheres. Br J Anaesth 50:1013–1018PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jørgensen S (1974) The injector flowmeter and its clinical evaluation. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 18:29–33PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Knights KM, Strunin JM, Strunin L (1975) Measurements of low concentrations of halothane in the atmosphere using a portable detector. Lancet 1:727–728PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lack JA (1976) Theatre pollution control. Anaesthesia 31:259–262PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Linde HW, Bruce DL (1969) Occupational exposure of anesthetists to halothane, nitrous oxide, and radiation. Anesthesiology 30:363–368PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lund I, Østerud A (1976) Ausrüstung zum Absaugen von Expirationsluft während der Narkose. Anaesthetist 25:541–542Google Scholar
  14. Mehta S, Behr G, Chari J, Kenyon D (1977) A passive method of disposal of expired anaesthetic gases. Br J Anaesth 49:589–593PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) (1977) Occupational exposure to waste anesthetic gases and vapors. DHEW (NIOSH) Publication No 77–140. US Government Printing Office, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  16. Oehmig H (1978) Methoden der Elimination von Narkosegasen und -dämpfen. In: Kirchner E (Hrsg) 20 Jahre Fluothane, Anaesthesiologie und Intensivmedizin, Bd 109. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, S. 158–165Google Scholar
  17. O’Sullivan J, Houldsworth HB (1982) Method for the determination of personal nitrous oxide exposure levels. In: Boulton TB, Atkinson RS et al. (eds) Abstracts of the 6th European congress of anaesthesiology. Academic, London, pp 434–435Google Scholar
  18. Rejger V, Burm AGL, Spierdijk J, Strokap H (1981) The Leiden scavenging system: a simple and versatile apparatus to control air pollution in operating rooms. Br J Anaesth 53:1359–1363PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Robinson JS, Thompson JM, Baratt RS, Belcher R, Stephen WI (1976) Pertinence and precision in pollution measurements. Br J Anaesth 48:167–177PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Spierdijk J, Burm AGL (1982) Environmental hazards in the operating theatre associated with small amounts of anaesthetic agents. In: Scurr C, Feldman S (eds) Scientific foundations of anaesthesia, 3rd ed. William Heinemann, London, pp 631–636Google Scholar
  21. Spierdijk J, Burm AGL, Bossers PA, van Beukering FC, van Gunst E (1975) Distribution of anesthetic gases in an operating room. In: Henschel WF, Lehmann CH (eds) Schädigungen des Anaesthesie-Personals durch Narkose-Gase und -Dämpfe. Anaesthesiologie und Wiederbelebung, Bd 89. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, S. 44–53Google Scholar
  22. Whitcher C, Cohen EN, Trudell JR (1971) Chronic exposure to anesthetic gases in the operating room. Anesthesiology 35:348–353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin, Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. G. L. Burm
  • J. Spierdijk
  • V. Rejger

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations