Anaesthetic is WARMING the planet: Gases used to knock out patients during surgery are contributing to climate change

April 8, 2015

Anaesthetic gases used to send patients to sleep during surgery are accumulating in the Earth's atmosphere where they are contributing to climate change.

Scientists say they have detected the gases used in anaesthetic as far a field as Antarctica and concentrations have been rising globally in the past decade.

The gases - desflurane, isoflurane and sevoflurane - are potent greenhouse gases that have 2,500 times the impact on global warming compared to carbon dioxide.

Atmospheric scientists who have been monitoring the gases say that while the concentrations in the atmosphere are low, they are having an increasing effect on the climate.

Dr Martin Vollmer, who led the study at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology in Dubendorf, Switzerland, said the anaesthetic gases were capable of storing far more energy from the sun than carbon dioxide. [Read More...]