Dr Nicolaas Hendrik Sperna Weiland, anaesthesiologist, Amsterdam University Medical Center, The Netherlands, and founder of the centre's Sustainable Healthcare Team discussed the environmental impact of inhaled anaesthetic agents and the need to massively reduce their use at this year's Euroanaesthesia Congress.
Volatile anaesthetics are potent greenhouse gases with a global warming potential (GWP) from 440 to 6810 relative to CO2. For example, sevoflurane has a GWP of 440, isoflurane 1800, and desflurane 6810, which are extremely high. Methane has a GWP of 86, and nitrous oxide is 289. Nitrous oxide also has a long atmospheric lifetime of around 120 years.