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Preliminary survey report: control technology for engineering controls in hospitals at Bethesda Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Spottswood SE; Kercher SL
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, ECTB 143-18a, 1983 Aug; :1-20
Control technology to limit ethylene-oxide (75218) (EtO) exposure at Bethesda Hospital (SIC-8062) was examined on April 13, 1983 to obtain information on techniques and procedures used for maintaining low concentrations of hazardous chemical substances in hospitals. EtO was used in hospital sterilization procedures and it was estimated that 100,000 hospital personnel were exposed. The sterilization cycle was a 2.5 hour process that included vacuum, humidification, EtO charging, and exhaust phases. Four types of engineering controls were employed: general dilution ventilation, local exhaust ventilation, a process modification, and preventive equipment maintenance. The general dilution ventilation system was well designed and maintained. Ventilation of the aeration cabinet immediately followed sterilization and was connected directly to an exhaust ventilation system. This operation was judged very effective. The most effective control used was the local exhaust ventilation system which reduced exposure to EtO at or below 1 part per million. The OSHA personal exposure limit for an 8 hour time weighted average is 50 parts per million. However, this limit is under review and may be lowered. The authors conclude that good engineering control technology has been instituted for minimizing employee exposure to EtO.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Survey; Ventilation; Field-Study; Hospital-equipment; Employee-exposure; Laboratory-workers; Region-5; Worker-health; Equipment-design
Field Studies; Control Technology
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division