HHE Report No. HHE-80-158-902, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, Bronx, New York.
Worker exposures to nitrous-oxide (10024972), halothane (151677), and ethrane (13838169) were surveyed on August 6 to 8, 1980 and February 9 to 12, 1981 at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center (SIC-8062) in the Bronx, New York. The evaluation was requested by a representative of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 37, on behalf of 34 operating room and 9 recovery room personnel. General and personal air samples were collected, and health questionnaires were completed by the employees. Exposures to nitrous-oxide, halothane, and ethrane ranged from 16 to 850, up to 14.4, and up to 2.4 parts per million (ppm), respectively. NIOSH standards are 25ppm for nitrous- oxide, and 0.5ppm for halogenated anesthetics used in combination with nitrous-oxide. A significant percentage of the staff reported symptoms such as headache, lightheadedness, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea. One of the 10 reported pregnancies among operating room personnel ended in miscarriage, while 3 of 6 pregnancies among recovery room staff ended in miscarriage. The authors conclude that staff personnel are exposed to hazardous amounts of waste anesthetic gases. Several work practice and engineering controls are recommended to reduce exposure.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 18 pages, 6 references