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Assessing the Impact on Global Climate from General Anesthetic Gases

Andersen, M. S. P., O. J. Nielsen, T. J. Wallington, B. Karpichev, and S. P. Sander (2012), Assessing the Impact on Global Climate from General Anesthetic Gases, Anesthesia & Analgesia, 114, 1081-1085, doi:10.1213/ANE.0b013e31824d6150.

Although present in the atmosphere with a combined concentration approximately 100,000 times lower than carbon dioxide (i.e., the principal anthropogenic driver of climate change), halogenated organic compounds are responsible for a warming effect of approximately 10% to 15% of the total anthropogenic radiative forcing of climate, as measured relative to the start of the industrial era (approximately 1750). The family of anesthetic gases includes several halogenated organic compounds that are strong greenhouse gases. In this short report, we provide an overview of the state of knowledge regarding the impact of anesthetic gas release on the environment, with particular focus on its contribution to the radiative forcing of climate change.

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Research Program: 
Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)
Upper Atmosphere Research Program (UARP)