Toxins Detected in Diode and Alexandrite Laser Plumes

Ob. Gyn. News* recently reported that laser plumes (the “smoke” released when diode or alexandrite laser are used for hair removal) may be hazardous to the health of the operator.

Ellipse Intense Pulsed Light treatment does not produce the same plume of smoke, because with Ellipse :

  • The hair is shaved
  • The skin is covered with a thin layer of gel. This is designed to aid light penetration, but acts as a barrier preventing the release of smoke.
  • The light goes down into the skin and heats up the hair to around 70C – so the hair does not vaporize as in diode or alexandrite laser treatment.


Ellipse applicators produce no plume

The report is based on a speech given at the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) by Dr Gary S Chuang, of the department of dermatology at Tufts Medical Centre, Boston, who with colleagues at Boston University captured the gas produced from a hair treated with a single pulse from diode or alexandrite laser, and analysed it. He found 300 different compounds were released including 13 that are hazardous to health, including:

  • Benzene, toluene, and ethylbenzene (commonly found in car exhaust, cigarette smoke, glue, paint, wax and detergents, and linked to leukaemia and bone marrow abnormalities.
  • 2-Methylpyridine, which can cause headache and nausea.
  • Diethyl phthalate, used in cosmetics and fragrances, shown to cause birth defects in pregnant rats.
  • Trimethyl disulphide, responsible for the smell of burned hair.
  • Various soap and perfume components of unknown toxicity.

Dr Jeffrey Dover, ASLMS President and a dermatologist in private practice in Chestnut Hill, Mass commented on Dr Chuang’s findings by saying

“I think these findings raise a significant concern about safety, especially for those who repeatedly perform laser hair removal procedures. My guess is that we and our staff are at risk when we do these procedures, and so probably are the patients in that room, and the patients in the neighbouring room and the hallway. For those repeatedly performing the procedure, those risks are magnified.

Short of wearing a re-breather-type respirator such as those worn by workers who handle hazardous materials, masks and evacuators may not offer sufficient protection against prolonged, repeated exposures to the chemical constituents of laser plumes.”

While this is news to most of us, it backs up comments that have been made by many Health and Safety Bodies for some years.  The US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, and UK Health and Safety Executive all give detailed guidance on smoke evacuation and personal protection against smoke.

*Source: Ob. Gyn. News 

About ellipseblogger

Ellipseblogger is the collective name for the various service staff of Ellipse A/S; manufacturers of laser and Intense Pulsed Light (I2PL) solutions for aesthetic dermatology since 1997. Please note that this blog reflects our worldwide applications of Ellipse systems of which some may not be currently cleared for sale in the US.

Posted on June 21, 2013, in Aesthetic, Treatments and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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