Procedure for measurement of inhaltion anesthetics

Project No. BIA 2056


completed 03/2004


Doctors and nursing staff are exposed to inhalation anaesthetics during operations on human beings and animals. Besides sevoflurane, enflurane, isoflurane and halothane, inhalation anaesthetics for which standard measurement methods have been available for many years within the BGMG hazardous substances measurement system, desflurane is increasingly being used. At the request of the Central Federation of Public Sector Accident Insurers (BUK), a suitable method was therefore also to be developed for this substance. At the same time, the "older" method described in DIN EN 482, "Workplace atmospheres - General requirements for the performance of procedures for the measurement of chemical agents" was to be revised and validated.


The gaschromatographic measurement procedure for inhalation anesthetics sevoflurane, enflurane, isoflurane and halothane was revised and additionally extended for desflurane. Sampling was performed by activated charcoal. Especially the interferences of i-Propanol had to be eliminated. The following steps were tested: the sampling took place with activated charcoal. For desorption 10 ml toluene was added and the samples were desorbed for about 18 hours. Finally, samples were analysed by gaschromatography (with flame ionization detector). Interferences caused by i-propanol (similar retention time as enflurane) were eliminated by derivatisation with heptafluorobutyric acid anhydride (HFBA). The method parameters were measured in accordance with DIN 32645, "Chemical analysis; decision limit; detection limit and determination limit; estimation in case of repeatability; terms, methods, evaluation". The disturbance caused by i-propanol (which has the same holding time as enflurane) is avoided by derivatization by means of heptafluorobutyric acid anhydride (HFBA).


A gas-chromatographic measurement method for inhalation anaesthetics was developed which satisfies the requirements of DIN EN 482. The method has been employed in the BGMG as a standard method since May 2004.

Further informations:

Last Update:



Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitsschutz - BIA

health service

Type of hazard:

Gefahrstoffe, Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren


Chemische Arbeitsstoffe, Exposition, Messverfahren

Description, key words:

measurement procedure, anaesthetics, exposure, gas chromatography