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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-86-277-1750, Project Orbis, Inc., New York, New York.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 86-277-1750, 1986 Nov; :1-25
In response to a request from the nurse administrator of Project Orbis, Inc. (SIC-8069), New York, New York, exposures to anesthetics and ethylene-oxide (75218) were evaluated aboard the aircraft used as a teaching eye hospital. Each mission involved about 20 staff members. Anesthetics included nitrous-oxide (10024972), halothane (151677), and isoflurane (26675467). Ethylene-oxide was used for equipment sterilization. Breathing zone and general air samples were collected, and analytical methods included gas chromatography, spectrophotometry, and adsorbent based dosimetry. Nitrous-oxide exposure during anesthesia ranged from 42 to 137 parts per million (ppm), exceeding NIOSH limit of 25ppm; exposure from the cryosurgery machine was 16ppm maximum. During surgery, exposures to halothane and isoflurane were 0.28 to 3.4ppm and 0.19 to 2.2ppm, respectively, both exceeding NIOSH limit of 0.5ppm. Recovery room nurses were overexposed to nitrous-oxide (up to 79ppm) and isoflurane (0.96ppm) from patients. The audiovisual room contained high levels during anesthetic use. Exposures to ethylene-oxide were 1.6 to 17ppm during sterilization processes and up to 12ppm at initial aircraft boarding; NIOSH short term 10 minute limit of 5ppm was not exceeded. This gas may present a cancer risk. The author concludes that anesthetic exposures are excessive, and ethylene-oxide exposure is a potential risk. Recommendations include engineering controls to limit anesthetic exposure, and good sterilization work practices.
NIOSH-Author; HETA-86-277-1750; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Region-2; Hazards-Confirmed; Medical-personnel; Anesthesiology; Halogenated-compounds; Nitrous-oxides; Ethylenes; Oxides; Air-sampling; Exposure-levels; Author Keywords: Specialty Hospitals; nitrous oxide; halothane; isoflurane; ethylene oxide; anesthetic gases; aircraft
75-21-8; 10024-97-2; 151-67-7; 26675-46-7
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: February 7, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division