Features  |   April 2018
WAG Treatment and CO2 Absorbers: New Technologies for Pollution and Waste Prevention
Author Affiliations
  • Brian P. Barrick, M.D., D.D.S.
    ASA Task Force on Environmental Sustainability
Article Information
Technology / Equipment / Monitoring / Features
Features   |   April 2018
WAG Treatment and CO2 Absorbers: New Technologies for Pollution and Waste Prevention
ASA Monitor 4 2018, Vol.82, 12-14.
ASA Monitor 4 2018, Vol.82, 12-14.
All inhaled anesthetic agents are potent greenhouse gases, and nitrous oxide (N2O) is additionally noxious to the ozone layer; thus they pose a threat to the environment when released into the atmosphere. Waste anesthetic gases (WAG) persist in the atmosphere anywhere from 1.1 years (sevoflurane) to 114 years (N2O).1  Methods for recapture and destruction are necessary to prevent environmental contamination. N2O is a plentiful, cheap, unstable compound and reuse is not a practical option, while destruction is possible. Halogenated agents, however, are expensive and stable compounds, and reclamation of these agents for potential re-purification and reuse, or their destruction, are both possible. Waste reduction can be achieved by newer carbon dioxide (CO2) absorber technologies that permit lower fresh gas flows without producing compound A. Prevention of WAG release to the environment should be pursued.
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