CM14C3-Inhaled Anesthetics: Big Problem and Big Solutions
The health care industry accounts for 8 percent of United States greenhouse gas (GHG) production. This estimate does not, however, account for inhaled anesthetics which are potent greenhouse gases. New Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) research shows that inhaled anesthetics are responsible for the single most significant environmental footprint within the operating room, and may account for as much as a staggering 1 percent of the health care industry's total GHG production. Left unmitigated, the costs of a "business as usual" attitude will contribute to the worsening of public health and increase the demand for health services. While environmental public health benefits are not tangibly felt, opportunities exist to reduce the environmental impacts of anesthesia practice and maintain high standards of care. In addition to the latest research explaining the overall contribution of inhaled anesthetics to U.S. greenhouse gas production, mitigation strategies will be reviewed including different Waste Anesthetic Gas (WAG) capturing systems, as well as strategies for alterations in clinical practices.
Jodi Sherman, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology, Yale University, School of Medicine | James Berry, MD, Professor of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University Medical School
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