5 stats on dangers of surgical smoke

Smoke from surgical tools can pose serious health risks for clinicians in the operating room. 

Here are five things to know about health hazards related to surgical smoke:

1. Surgical tools that cauterize or vaporize tissue can generate smoke that moves up to 40 miles an hour and contains toxic chemicals OR masks don't filter out, Nick Meginnis, a brand manager for Stryker Corp., told ABC Action News.

2. Surgical smoke can contain more than 150 hazardous chemicals, including all 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons designated as priority pollutants by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to an information sheet from the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses.

3. On average, daily exposure to surgical smoke is equivalent to the OR team smoking 27-30 unfiltered cigarettes, AORN said.

4. Perioperative nurses also report twice as many respiratory issues as the general population, according to AORN.

5. In June 2018, Rhode Island became the first state to legally require all hospitals and freestanding ASCs to use a smoke evacuation system for relevant surgical procedures. AORN said is working with other states to implement similar regulatory changes.

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