Evaluation of waste anesthetic gas exposure and miscarriages at a veterinary hospital
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Evaluation of waste anesthetic gas exposure and miscarriages at a veterinary hospital

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    "In March 2017, employees of a veterinary hospital requested a health hazard evaluation because of concerns that waste anesthetic gas exposures were causing reproductive health effects. The veterinary hospital used isoflurane (primary anesthetic gas used during surgery) and sevoflurane. Active and passive scavenging systems were used. We gathered information about work practices, ventilation, operation and maintenance of scavenging systems, employee exposures to isoflurane, area isoflurane concentrations in the air throughout the veterinary hospital, and employee health. One isoflurane overexposure was measured for an employee who was recovering an animal after surgery. All other personal sampling results were below the lowest occupational exposure limit. Full-shift area concentrations of isoflurane were low. Seven employees reported 12 miscarriages while employed at the veterinary hospital. Our evaluation could not link the reported miscarriages to work at the veterinary hospital. Other reproductive hazards were present including drugs associated with reproductive and developmental toxicity, an x-ray room, and use of an ethylene oxide sterilizer. Less than half of the 17 interviewed operating room employees reported receiving training about the potential health effects of anesthetic gases. We found that both operating rooms were positively pressured compared to the hallway. Prior to our visit, the scavenging systems were incorrectly connected, but had been corrected. We recommended the veterinary hospital (1) replace the passive scavenging systems with active scavenging systems; (2) maintain anesthesia machines and scavenging systems; (3) train employees on hazards within the veterinary hospital; (4) evaluate other reproductive hazards; and (5) ensure proper personal protective equipment is available and used." - NIOSHTIC-2

    NIOSHTIC no. 20055027

    Recommended citation: NIOSH [2019]. Evaluation of waste anesthetic gas exposure and miscarriages at a veterinary hospital. By Li JF, Chiu S. Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Health Hazard Evaluation Report 2017-0077-3336, https://www .cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports/pdfs/2017-0077-3336.pdf.

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