The objective of this study was to identify hazards that occur due to surgical practices and assess exposure to surgical smoke. We investigated nine surgical specialties in their corresponding operating rooms (ORs) for on-line measurements of pollutants and off-line determination of PAHs. Surgery for the face and dentistry generated the smallest particle size with a GMD of 23.3 nm. Also, the highest levels of the lung deposition surface area (5.8 ± 6.8 μm2/cm3), particulate matter of < 10 μm (PM10; 6.46 ± 5.34 μg/m3), PM2.5 (1.82 ± 1.01 μg/m3), and black carbon (0.10 ± 0.05 μg/m3) were seen with surgery of the face and dentistry. For gaseous pollutants, we observed that gastroenterology had the highest levels of CO2 (869 ± 112 ppm) and total volatile organic compounds (3.70 ± 1.00 ppm) compared to the other operating rooms. Levels of CO (3.40 ± 1.20 ppm) and formaldehyde (0.90 ± 0.51 ppm) were highest in the urology OR. Average total PAHs were mainly present in the gaseous phase with the highest concentrations of 746.6~1045.8 ng/m3 for gynecology. Our results showed that most pollutant levels were relatively low. However, gaseous PAHs emitted from surgical practices can reach levels that may pose important cancer risks in terms of occupational health.
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