First they came for your DDT… malaria killed millions and is still killing. Then they banned fluorocarbons… the hole in the ozone closed and global warming increased. Next they came after freon… it’s replacement is 4000 times more harmful to the environment. Co2 is on their list… no exhaling for you and no inhaling for plant life. Now it appears they are about to screw with your anesthesia:
When your doctor turns on the gas during surgery you go to sleep. You may be having pleasant dreams, but you are also contributing to global warming, according to a study released Friday by the University of Copenhagen.
Each year, surgery related gases affect the climate as much as one million cars, reports the study done in conjunction with NASA and the University of Michigan medical school.
Ole John Nielsen, a professor of atmospheric chemistry at the University of Copenhagen carried out the study which examined three gases, isoflurane, sevoflurane and desflurane, used regularly in human medicine. Nielsen says all three are worse than C02.
Nielsen said the mildest of the two are isoflurane and sevoflurane. He said the study finds desflurane the most harmful and will cause 1,620 times as much global warming as an equal amount of C02. Isoflurane and sevoflurane have global warming potentials of 210 and 510 respectively.
“This ought to make anesthesiologists sit up and take notice. If all three compounds have equal therapeutic worth, there is every reason to choose the one with the lowest global warming potential”, Nielsen said.
“The amount of gas needed for a single surgical procedure is not high, but each year surgery related anaesthetics affects the climate as much as would one million cars,” says the study published in the December issue of the British Journal of Anesthesia.
The gases were studied at the Ford atmospheric laboratories near Detroit.
NASA’s Mads Andersen collaborated with Nielsen and came up with the idea for the study while his wife was giving birth.
“The anesthesiologist told me, that the gas used is what we chemists know as a halogenated compound. That’s the same family . . . as the Freon that was famously eating the ozone layer back in the ’80s,” Andersen said.
Freon has been banned around the world since 1992.
They have done so well so far…Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid!