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Use of ethylene oxide as a sterilant in medical facilities.

Authors
Glaser-ZR
Source
NIOSH 1977 Aug; :1-66
NIOSHTIC No.
00074545
Abstract
Based on the results of recent tests for mutagenesis, NIOSH recommends that exposure to ethylene oxide be controlled so that workers are not exposed to a concentration greater than 75 ppm determined during a 15 minute sampling period, as a ceiling occupational exposed limit and in addition, with the provision that the time-weighted average concentration limit of 50 ppm for a work day not be exceeded. As additional information on the toxic effect of ethylene oxide becomes available, this recommended level for exposures of short duration may be altered. Where the use of the compound is to be continued, improved techniques of exhausting the gas from the sterilizer, the aerator and the sterilized items need to be implemented. Under such control, the use of ethylene oxide as a medical sterilizant can be continued with less risk to the health of employees. Included is a summary of airborne ethylene oxide concentrations measured within health care facilities as part of a field survey. NIOSH estimates that there are in excess of 10,000 ethylene oxide sterlizers used in U.S. health care facilities, and that approximately 75,000 workers are potentially exposed to the gas in those facilities. Reasons for the unnecessary exposure were found to include poor ventilation of equipment and working spaces, improper handling of sterilized items, untrained workers, poor operating techniques, poorly designed sterilization facilities, and design limitations of the sterilization equipment.
Keywords
NIOSH-Author; Control-easures; Safety-measures; Mutagenic-effects; Chemical-carcinogens; Medical-facilities; Air-contamination; Medical-equipment; Sterilants; Health-care-workers; Air-quality-control; Toxicology
CAS No.
75-21-8
Publication Date
19770801
Document Type
Numbered Publication; Criteria Document
Fiscal Year
1977
NTIS Accession No.
PB-274795
NTIS Price
A05
Identifying No.
(NIOSH) 77-200
NIOSH Division
DCDSD
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
State
MD
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