Environmental Pollutants in Medical Air
Posted on Mar 01, 2015
My Canadian friend asked, “are local air pollutants being piped bedside to the patients seeking healthcare in a poluted area”?
My response was:
In the USA, from a medical gas perspective, there are protective protocols for addressing the issue of contaminants in medical air. These have been in the NFPA 99 for some time but a more specific protocol is called out in the 2012 edition of NFPA 99. In section 18.104.22.168 on Maintenance Programs the frequency for testing is established by risk assessment. So a highly industrial location may have a higher frequency of testing than a rural setting. Also called out in 22.214.171.124.3 (h, i) is CO and air purity testing as the type of testing. For purity of medical air we can reference section 126.96.36.199.1. This section calls out excursion limits for hydrocarbons, gaseous hydrocarbons, particulates and it references USP requirements for medical air. Some of the compounds listed by USP for medical air are nitric oxide, sulfur dioxide and CO2.
This is a step in the right direction. A couple of questions might be are these enough contaminants for testing and is the testing being done. Regarding compliance, I expect that when CMMS adopts life safety code 2012 which will include NFPA 99, 2012 , compliance will get better.