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Industrywide studies report, industrial hygiene survey, Col. Florence A. Blanchfield U.S. Army Community Hospital, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, IWS 152-11, 1985 Sep; :1-32
Personal and general area air samples were analyzed for ethylene- oxide (75218) in the central material supply area of a US Army hospital (SIC-8062) in Fort Campbell, Kentucky in December, 1984. Work practices and engineering controls were observed. Time weighted average (TWA) personal ethylene-oxide exposures ranged from non detectable to 0.48 part per million (ppm). Short term exposures averaged 2.41ppm TWA. The OSHA standard for ethylene-oxide is 1.0ppm. Area air ethylene-oxide concentrations ranged up to 106.6ppm (15 minute exposure) on the second shift. Work practices such as opening the door too wide after completing the sterilizer cycle and not vacating the central material supply area during the exhaust/air flushing stage may have increased ethylene-oxide concentrations. Conducting the sterilization process on the second shift when few personnel were present and using gloves when handling sterilized packages reduced overall ethylene-oxide exposures. The facility lacked such engineering controls as local exhaust ventilation hoods at the air break between the vacuum line and drain and properly placed exhaust ventilation grids. The author concludes that personal ethylene-oxide exposures did not exceed the OSHA standard. Exposure potential can be reduced by improving work practices and installing necessary engineering controls.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Survey; Field-study; Medical-facilities; Quantitative-analysis; Workers; Analytical-models; Surgery; Safety-monitoring; Region-4
Field Studies; Industry Wide
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: March 20, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division