Reducing The Danger Of Surgical Smoke Exposure To Health Care Workers

Although more and more states are adopting smoking restrictions in workplaces, restaurants, and bars to protect people from the dangers of second-hand cigarette smoke, health care workers continue to be exposed to similar dangers every day in the form of surgical smoke. During surgical procedures that use a laser or electrosurgical unit, the thermal destruction of tissue creates a smoke byproduct. According to the NIOSH research studies have confirmed that this smoke plume can contain toxic gases and vapors such as benzene, hydrogen cyanide, and formaldehyde; bioaerosols; dead and live cellular material (including blood fragments); and viruses.