GLOBAL WARMING and climate change refer to an increase in average global temperatures mainly by causing the reduction in escape of infrared waves back to space. Emission of infrared radiation into space is an important mechanism by which the earth loses heat and cools down. Atmospheric pollution by molecules that hinder the escape of the infrared radiation affects the temperature regulatory mechanisms of the earth and thus affects the climate.
Climate change is already impacting farming, shipping, agriculture, and countless other business sectors. Natural events and human activities are main culprits to be contributing to an increase in average global temperatures. This is caused primarily by increases in “Greenhouse Gases (GHG)” such as carbon dioxide (CO2).
Latest research has proved that the medical gases are extra potential in causing of GHG effects, they are called as Waste hospital gases , includes all fugitive anesthetic gases and vapors that are released into anesthetizing locations and recovery areas.
Waste gas from an anesthesia machine delivery system can be composed of oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, nitrogen, helium, vapors of volatile anesthetic agents such as halothane, enfurane, and isoflurane, desflurane, sevoflurane or any other agent or gas collected within and evacuated from an anesthesia or analgesia delivery system used to knock out surgery patients are accumulating in the earth’s atmosphere, where they make a small contribution to climate change because they contain chlorine and are believed to have significant ozone-depleting potential.
The stability of the molecules of halogenated inhalational anesthetics permits their passage to the stratosphere, where solar ultraviolet radiation dissociates these molecules to liberate free chlorine, which acts as a catalyst in the breakdown of ozone and destruction of the ozone layer.
Volatile anesthetic agents share the property of being liquid at room temperature, but evaporating easily for administration by inhalation. All of these agents share the property of being quite hydrophobic. Halothane was the first fluorinated inhaled anesthetic that was wildly successful, rapidly displacing all other potent inhaled anesthetics.
Inhaled anesthetic gases leak from anesthesia machine systems as no system is completely leak-free. The source of the leakage may be from both the high-pressure and low-pressure systems of the anesthesia machine.
It is generally accepted that small amounts of liquid anesthetic agents spilled in a well-ventilated room will evaporate before cleanup procedures can be implemented. When large spills occur for example, when one or more bottles of a liquid agent break; specific cleaning and containment procedures are necessary and appropriate disposal is required. One kilogram of desflurane, for instance, is equivalent to 2,500 kilograms of carbon dioxide in terms of the amount of greenhouse warming potential, explained Martin Vollmer, an atmospheric chemist at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in Dubendorf, Switzerland, who led the new study. He said, “On a kilogram-per-kilogram basis, it’s so much more potent than carbon dioxide.”
According to the Manufacturer’s Material Safety Data Sheet for enflurane and desflurane, disposal of these waste liquids should be handled in accordance with rules and regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as criteria for use with hazardous waste. The identifying code number, D022, is used for both liquids and describes for the waste handling contractor why the material is being classified as hazardous.
Operation Theater (OT) pollution can be minimized by use of scavenging systems, installation of more effective ventilation systems, and increased attention to equipment maintenance and leak detection. Waste gas scavenging system is defined as a device that collects gas from the patient circuit and removes excess anesthetic gases and vapors that are released from the equipment used or are exhaled by the patients. To manage waste anesthetic gases appropriately, it is essential that all anesthesia professionals be knowledgeable. Their work practices and suitable techniques commonly known to help reduce the concentration of trace anesthetic gases present in the work environment. All anesthetic systems shall be operated and maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
In easy words we can propose precautionary measures to collect the liquid spilled and the absorbent materials used to contain a spill in a glass or plastic container. Tightly cap and seal the container and remove it from the anesthetizing location. Label the container to clearly indicate its contents. Transfer the sealed containers to a designated waste disposal service area that handles chemical waste. Empty anesthetic bottles are not considered to be regulated waste. They may be discarded with ordinary trash or recycled.
In order to limit global warming to 2°C and avoid the worst effects of climate change, the world needs to invest an additional $44 trillion in clean energy more than $1 trillion per year for the next 36 years; rather this expenditure on public awareness along with practicable approach is need of the hour.