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Before and after: an evaluation of engineering controls for ethylene oxide sterilization in hospitals.
Kercher SL; Mortimer VD
Appl Ind Hyg 1987 Jan; 2(1):7-12
The usefulness of installing engineering controls to reduce levels of ethylene-oxide (75218) (EtO) exposure to hospital personnel working in the vicinity of a gas sterilizer was investigated. EtO sterilization at the hospital studied was conducted exclusively within the Supply, Processing and Distribution Department. Items to be sterilized were taken to a decontamination room where they were cleaned. Sterilization activities occurred in a clean room. The sterilization chamber and EtO supply were installed in recess room between the decontamination and clean rooms. Prior to the installation of control equipment, full shift personal exposures to EtO averaged 0.3ppm, and short term exposures for sterilizer operators averaged about 2ppm for 20 minutes. Installation of a ventilated slot hood above the sterilizer door and extending the sterilizer cycle to reduce EtO levels during door opening decreased EtO levels in front of the sterilizer by 90 percent. Installation of a vented enclosure around the air gap in the sterilizer discharge line and sealing its floor drain junction reduced EtO emissions by 97 percent. The modifications decreased EtO exposure levels to below the NIOSH recommended limits of 0.1ppm for full shift exposures and 0.2ppm for 20 minutes for short term exposures. However, the modifications did not reduce EtO levels within the sterilizer recess room.
NIOSH-Author; Equipment-design; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Ethylenes; Occupational-exposure; Hospital-equipment; Time-weighted-average-exposure; Equipment-operators; Ventilation-equipment
Issue of Publication
Applied Industrial Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division