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Anesthetic Gases are as Risky as Refrigerants

Ole Nielsen

A recent study carried out by chemists from University of Copenhagen and NASA in collaboration with anesthesiologists from the University of Michigan Medical School has come out with an inference that one kilogram of anesthetic gas affects the climate as much as 1620 kilos of CO2.

Copenhagen Chemist Ole John Nielsen (in picture), also a Professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of Copenhagen has revealed that anesthetic gases have a global warming potential more than a thousand times higher than CO2, says this report.

Anesthetic gasses, generally used in surgeries have a global warming potential as high as a refrigerant. Nielsen has made it clear that he studied three different gasses in regular use for anesthesia, and they’re not equally harmful.

The three anaesthetic gasses isoflurane, desflurane and sevoflurane were studied at the Ford atmospheric laboratories near Detroit, Michigan are worse than CO2 but where the mildest ones have global warming potentials of 210 and 510 respectively, the most harmful will cause 1620 times as much global warming as an equal amount of CO2.

According to a new report in the medical journal “British Journal of Anaesthesia”, the amount of gas needed for a single surgical procedure is not high, each year surgery related anesthetics affects the climate as much as would one million cars way to being banned in the EU.

However the study comes as a warning to those who release the gas into atmosphere.

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