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In-depth survey report: modified control technology for ethylene oxide sterilization in hospitals at Community MedCenter Hospital, Marion, Ohio.
Mortimer VD Jr.; 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 146-12c, 1986 Jun; :1-39
Controls for ethylene-oxide (75218) (EtO) emitted from gas sterilization of medical items were evaluated at Community Med. Center Hospital (SIC-8062), Marion, Ohio, in October, 1985 after modifications to the system. Personal exposures and area concentrations were sampled with charcoal tubes, gas bags, or an infrared analyzer. Full shift exposures for the sterilizer operator were controlled to less than 0.05 parts per million (ppm) average with a combination of local exhaust ventilation at the emission sources, sterilizer cycle modifications, and work practices. Short term exposures during transfer of the load to the aerator had an average value of less than 0.22ppm versus 1.98ppm before controls were added. Employee exposures were less than the 5ppm ceiling limit which NIOSH has recommended not be achieved for more than 10 minutes in any workday. EtO was detected in front of the sterilizer during the purge cycle due to an unsealed drain connection and inadequate recess room exhaust. Temporarily sealing the drain controlled EtO emissions during purge. The authors recommend that the drain be permanently sealed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and that recess room exhaust ventilation be increased to handle the airflow induced by the heat from the enclosed equipment to prevent the escape of EtO from the recess room into the work area.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Survey; Field-Study; Region-5; Ethylenes; Oxides; Hospital-equipment; Air-contamination; Exhaust-systems
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