Blowing Smoke

Profit motive—and scant evidence—propel dire warnings about surgical fumes.

from STAT

The claims sound terrifying: Just breathing the air in an operating room where hot surgical tools are being used to slice and cauterize tissue—emitting puffs of caustic smoke in the process—is said to be the equivalent of smoking up to 30 unfiltered cigarettes a day. The smoke contains an array of carcinogenic toxins. And nurses regularly exposed to it report they are twice as likely as the general public to suffer congestion, coughing, and asthma.

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