Surgical smoke occurs during surgery and is produced by the electrosurgical devices used to cut and dissect tissue. It contains a variety of chemical and biological substances, and may also transmit infections, which carry a number of potential risks for those exposed to it, including irritation of the eyes and skin, acute headaches, allergic rhinitis, and chronic lung conditions such as occupational asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The Surgical Smoke Coalition, a pan-European movement created to raise awareness of the risks associated with surgical smoke, has published its policy overview report ‘Surgical smoke – An underestimated health hazard’.
The report sets out a series of concrete recommendations for policymakers, regulators, hospital leaders and medical associations to address the risks of surgical smoke at both EU and national levels.
You can read EU-OSHA´s Exposure to biological agents and related health problems for healthcare workers discussion paper, and the summary report Biological agents and prevention of work-related diseases: a review.