Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-88-312-L1978, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Clarksburg, West Virginia.
Salisburg S; Daniels W
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 88-312-L1978, 1989 Jul; :1-21
In response to a request from the management and employees of the Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center, and the U.S. Attorney's Office, a study was made of possible hazardous working conditions at the VA facility located in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Specific concern was directed toward a nitrous-oxide (10024972) (N2O) leak which had gone undetected for over 6 months. The piping system, which had been deactivated, was reactivated for the investigation. N2O concentrations reaching 10 to 12 parts per million (ppm) were detected in the hallway near the leak using direct reading instruments and data recording equipment. This was below the NIOSH recommended exposure limit of 25ppm. Concentrations in the offices and operating rooms were less than 4ppm. In three of four anesthetic carts tested, low pressure leaks were detected. On one N2O wall outlet a high pressure leak was detected when connected to a cart's high pressure hose. During actual surgical procedures, testing of the operating room air found no exposures exceeding the 25ppm limits for N2O and no exposures exceeding the halogenated anesthetic vapor limits of 0.5ppm. The authors conclude that there was no evidence that the leaking piping system would have produced exposure to N2O above the proposed 8 hour time weighted average threshold limit value of 50ppm. The authors recommend correction of the leakage from respirometer slip ring connectors used on the anesthetic carts, and leak testing and repair of high pressure wall outlets.
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