According to an Oct. 7 press release, the California Nurses Association applauds Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of A.B. 1007, a bill that requires the development and adoption of enforceable workplace health and safety protections from surgical smoke in California hospitals. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Liz Ortega and sponsored by CAN.
The press release states, “Surgical plume, or smoke, is the toxic byproduct of laser and electrosurgery procedures that destroy human tissue. When tissue is cut, cauterized, or destroyed, the smoke or plume emits toxic gases and vapors which contain human tissue, carcinogens, blood, drug-resistant bacteria, fungi, viruses, pathogens, and even malignant cancerous cells. These surgical plumes may contain dozens of toxic chemicals and particulates, including infectious diseases and known carcinogens.”
Further, “Healthcare professionals who are exposed to these plumes can suffer multiple health impacts such as eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, asthma, pneumonia, infectious disease transmission, and possibly even cancer.”
The press release adds that protection from surgical smoke is straightforward—a smoke evacuation device (plume scavenging systems) can be used whenever electro or laser surgery is performed and surgical smoke is generated.
“A.B. 1007 specifically directs the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) to develop standards and the California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to consider for adoption an enforceable workplace standard to mandate removal of surgical plumes in health facilities,” the release notes. “It would require the use of smoke evacuators that capture and neutralize surgical smoke at the site of origin before it makes contact with patients or health personnel.”
CNA president Sandy Reding, RN and operating room nurse was quoted in the release. She said, “As an operating room nurse for more than three decades, I am so proud of the nurse advocacy that’s propelled California to take this critical action to protect health care professionals and patients from noxious, carcinogenic surgical plumes. Mandating and improving workplace health and safety standards through legislation like A.B. 1007 ensures that California can retain skilled nursing staff at the bedside at a time when the industry-created staffing crisis is worsening. California regulators must rein in employer practices that expose us to unsafe working conditions and push nurses out of the profession.”
CNA has the press release.