Nitrous oxide, like other medicinal products, is associated with certain side effects. Nitrous oxide is also a greenhouse gas that has an impact on our climate. Approx 1% of the total nitrous oxide emissions come from the healthcare sector, and with modern-day technology this form of emissions will decrease dramatically. The section below contains information about nitrous oxide and the working environment and the climate and how we at Linde Healthcare can contribute.
Care for the working environment
Nitrous oxide is used as a painkilling agent. The nitrous oxide enters the body through inhalation and the pain-killing effect is achieved. When nitrous oxide is exhaled the effect fades immediately. The nitrous oxide is not consumed in the body, and it is therefore exhaled as nitrous oxide. It is when the patient exhales that healthcare professionals may come into contact with the nitrous oxide. Local Environment Authorities in the Nordic countries have established guidelines, known as occupational exposure limit values, for the level of exposure to nitrous oxide healthcare professionals can have. If these guidelines are followed, however, nitrous oxide is not considered harmful. Most measurements today show that the exposure of healthcare professionals is well below these occupational exposure limit values.
It is relatively simple to reduce the concentration of nitrous oxide in the surrounding air. Overhauling ventilation, reducing leakage, using double masks, informing patients and staff and making sure, for example, that delivery rooms are furnished so that staff work close to fresh air outlets are measures that can assist towards meeting the guidelines for occupational exposure limit values.
To make it easier for hospitals and clinics, Linde Healthcare has developed a checklist for anaesthetic gases and a checklist for obstetric departments. The checklists can be used as support in checking for any leakage, unnecessary emissions and so on. Contact Customer Service if you are interested in these documents.
Respect for our global climate
Medical nitrous oxide is used with great benefit in medical care. Both patients and staff appreciate these benefits. From the environmental point of view it is important to prevent all forms of leaks and unnecessary emissions. Many hospitals have therefore already rectified deficiencies in the central gas system. To enable more of them to do so, Linde Healthcare offers a review of the hospital's distribution system with checks on pipes etc. More information can be found by clicking on the links "Central gas system" and "QI Risk” to the left.
Today nitrous oxide emissions in the health service can be taken care of, with the result that the nitrous oxide is destroyed.With our mobile gas converter EXCIDIO® nitrous oxide becomes a modern environmentally friendly method of pain relief.