Publication Details

Johnstone, K. R., Lau, C. & Whitelaw, J. L. (2017). Evaluation of Waste Isoflurane Gas Exposure During Rodent Surgery in an Australian University. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 14 (12), 955-964.


Biomedical researchers use of inhalational anesthetics has increased in recent years. Use of isoflurane as an inhalational anesthetic may result in human exposure to waste anesthetic gas. Potential health effects from exposure include genotoxic and hepatotoxic effects with some evidence of teratogenic and reproductive effects. Research suggests that exposure to waste anesthetic gas within human hospital settings has improved substantially but exposures to biomedical researchers and veterinarians still requires improvement. A number of biomedical research facilities are located at The University of Queensland, Australia, where researchers and animal handlers are potentially exposed to waste isoflurane gas. There is limited published data on the exposures received by biomedical researchers performing routine procedures. This project aimed to assess isoflurane exposure received during routine rodent anesthetic protocols performed at the university. Atmospheric concentrations of isoflurane were assessed via two methods—personal active gas sampling using sorbent tubes and direct readings using infrared spectroscopy. Total procedure and isoflurane exposure times ranged from 135–268 min. Personal sorbent tube sampling detected isoflurane levels from below detectable limits (



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