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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-85-126-1932, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Bryant CJ; Gorman R; Stewart J; Whong Z
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 85-126-1932, 1988 Sep; :1-28
In response to a request from a group of surgeons at the Bryn Mawr Hospital (SIC-8062), located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania an evaluation was made of possible hazardous working conditions at that site. The surgeons were concerned about emissions generated by electrocautery knives when performing reduction mammoplasty. Several operating room personnel were experiencing acute health effects during this procedure, which does produce a considerable amount of smoke. Symptoms included respiratory and eye irritation, headache, and nausea. Personal and area air samples were taken for hydrocarbons, nitrosamines, total particulates, benzene soluble fraction, and polynuclear aromatic compounds. Total particulate concentrations ranged from 0.4 to 2.0mg/m3 in personal breathing zone samples and from 0.7 to 9.4mg/m3 in area samples. During a brief demonstration of the laser cutting technique, a particulate sample was taken which measured 9.4mg/m3, 7.4mg/m3 of which was benzene soluble. The benzene soluble fraction exceeded the NIOSH REL and the OSHA PEL in seven of eleven samples collected. Trace amounts of hydrocarbons were identified. The major component of the samples appeared to be a compound or compounds related to fatty acid esters. Solvent extracts of airborne particles collected from the room using cauterization were mutagenic. The authors recommend that engineering ventilation controls be used to minimize the acute health effects and reduce the potential for long range chronic disorders, that any further acute or chronic health effects be evaluated and documented, and that exposure to eletrocautery smoke be reevaluated.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; HETA-85-126-1932; Region-3; Hazard-Confirmed; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Operating-rooms; Nurses; Medical-personnel; Medical-equipment; Author Keywords: General Medical and Surgical Hospitals; operating rooms; electrocautery knives; electrocautery smoke; reduction mammoplasty; mutagenicity assessment; polynuclear aromatics; PNAs; nitrosamines; benzene-soluble fraction
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: February 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division