Letter: OSHA: Protect surgical staff from toxic smoke

OSHA: Protect surgical
staff from toxic smoke

Operating room staff are exposed to surgical smoke that studies show is equivalent to smoking 27-30 unfiltered cigarettes every day.

OSHA is aware of this issue, yet no standards exist to protect our health care workers. Surgical smoke is a byproduct of devices used during surgery. It is a carcinogen more toxic than tobacco smoke. Studies show that surgical smoke generated from 1 gram of tissue is equal to smoking six unfiltered cigarettes in 15 minutes! Eighty-five percent of surgical procedures use these devices and surgical nurses report twice the incidence of respiratory problems compared to the general population.

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OSHA’s mission is “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards.” I ask readers to contact OSHA at 800-321-6742 and demand that the use of smoke evacuators be enforced in all operating rooms.

Casey Casimiro
San Leandro

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Source:: The Mercury News

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