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|Nitrous oxide use in Australian health care: Strategies to reduce the climate impact.
|Anesthetic Clinical Pharmacology
|Nitrous oxide is a useful inhaled analgesic. Due to its high global warming potential and ozone-depleting properties, the nitrous oxide emissions related to health care are being increasingly scrutinized. In this narrative review, we will discuss the clinical uses of nitrous oxide relevant to anesthetists, in addition to its contribution as a greenhouse gas. Using available data from Australia, we will explore potential strategies for reducing the impact of those emissions, which are likely to be applicable in other countries. These include destruction of captured nitrous oxide, minimizing nitrous oxide waste and reducing clinical use. Anesthesia clinicians are well placed to raise awareness with colleagues and consumers regarding the environmental impact of nitrous oxide and to promote cleaner alternatives. Reducing use is likely to be the most promising reduction strategy without large-scale changes to infrastructure and subsequent delay in action.
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