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Anaesthetic Gas Scavenging Systems (AGSS) were introduced to enhance the safety of the environment in which members of staff in close proximity with waste anaesthetic gases and vapors (agents) work. AGSS transport exhaled and waste anaesthetic gases from the exhaust valve of an anaesthetic ventilator or anaesthetic breathing system into the atmosphere at a safe location away from the operating theatre. Active AGSS incorporate a mechanical pump to assist with the disposal of the waste gases. AGSS consist of transfer, receiving and disposal components. The transfer hose conveys waste gases from the breathing system to the AGSS receiving reservoir. The receiving reservoir incorporates an air break to allow entrainment of room air and prevent negative pressure being applied to the breathing system.
A number of studies carried out both in the UK and in the U.S have shown that repeated exposure to small quantities of anaesthetic gases can adversely affect health.