Dangerous Surgical Smoke Investigation Leads To New Utah Bill

Feb 24, 2020, 9:32 PM | Updated: Jun 22, 2022, 2:59 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A KSL investigation that found surgical smoke being generated in Utah operating rooms contained the same cancer-causing smoke as cigarettes has led to proposed legislation.

Nurses showed up last week on Utah’s Capitol Hill giving impassioned pleas for clearing the air in operating rooms – for their health and their patients.

“Many of the nurses came in their surgical scrubs which was a really great visual, and several were prepared to do testimony,” said Diane Forster-Burke, professor emeritus at Westminster College.

Utah nurses gave impassioned pleas on Utah’s Capitol Hill, for their health and their patients.

Forster-Burke and colleague Kathleen Kaufman, R.N. and professor emeritus at the University of Utah, volunteer with the Utah Nurses’ Association.

That organization was formed after KSL TV looked into the dangers of surgical smoke from several tools used in operating rooms, such as electrosurgery units and lasers.

Out of the 46 hospitals in Utah, KSL TV found only one was 100% smoke-free – Shriners Hospitals for Children in Salt Lake City.

“I think it’s absolutely astounding,” Kaufman said. “It’s a move into the dark ages, quite frankly.”

The nurses’ efforts have led to Senate bill 105.

The bill has gone to interim study, but these nurses said they will keep it front and center.

“One of the things we were told was, ‘It can’t be a big issue, nobody’s complaining about it,’” Kaufman said. “Well, our job is to get the nurses to start complaining.”

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Kathleen Riebe, D-Cottonwood Heights, said it’s already led to improvements.

“Now that they’ve heard about it, we’ve created a bill file. Doctors have asked us questions, I think it’s going to be moving in the right direction,” she said.

Advocating for the ones who care for us all.

Riebe said she’s confident the bill will get more focus next year, and that “smoke-free” will become the gold standard in Utah.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories


WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 01:  U.S. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (2nd R) speaks...
ALAN FRAM and LISA MASCARO, Associated Press

Senate Democrats pass big Biden deal; House to vote next

The Senate has approved the Democrats' big economic package even though the legislation is less ambitious than President Biden’s original goals.
2 days ago
ARLEIGH RODGERS, Associated Press/Report for America

Indiana becomes 1st state to approve abortion ban post Roe

Indiana has become the first state in the nation to pass new legislation restricting access to abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June.
3 days ago
In this July 22, 2019 photo provided by Rodrigo Vargas, a black hawk sits on a tree in Cristalino I...

Brazil will allow state park in biodiverse area to be destroyed

In a move that shocked environmentalists, the state government of Mato Grosso has given up a legal battle to protect a state park located in one of the Brazilian Amazon's most biodiverse areas.
3 days ago
An Aug. 5, 2022 three-car crash claimed one life near the intersection of 4100 South, 4000 West. (J...
Larry D. Curtis

3-car collision in West Valley claims the life of one passenger

One person was killed Friday night in a three-car collision in West Valley City. The victim has not yet been identified.
3 days ago
U.S. is shipping tens of thousands of monkeypox vaccines to 48 states....
Jed Boal

Monkeypox cases increasing in Utah; still very low risk for most Utahns

Monkeypox is now a national public health emergency and Utah is seeing more cases. But epidemiologists stress that this infection is circulating primarily in a specific population.
4 days ago
A vial of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine sits on a table at a pop-up vaccination clinic which opened...

US to declare health emergency over monkeypox outbreak

The U.S. will declare a public health emergency to bolster the federal response to the outbreak of monkeypox that already has infected more than 6,600 Americans.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Dangerous Surgical Smoke Investigation Leads To New Utah Bill