NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-87-207-1845, University of Colorado, Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado.
Nichting AT; Hales TR; Gunter BJ
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 87-207-1845, 1987 Oct; :1-31
In response to a request from management of University Hospital, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (SIC-8062) located at Denver, Colorado, a study of possible employee exposure to ethylene- oxide (75218) was undertaken. Employees had complained of headaches and possible neurological problems. A personal breathing zone sample collected from the sterilizer operator showed levels of ethylene-oxide at the limit of quantitation, 0.02mg/m3. In sterilizer and mechanical access room samples, ethylene-oxide was detected ranging up to 0.2mg/m3 levels. A stationary, solid state alarm in a storage area adjacent to the sterilizer room which had been going off with some regularity may have been responding to hairspray or to a bar of isopropanol based soap nearby. The authors conclude that a potential for exposure to ethylene-oxide exists for workers in the sterilizer room. The authors recommend that efforts be continued to keep ethylene-oxide levels as low as possible and to check for possible leaks in the system. Effective ventilation controls should be established, and a warning system should be installed in the mechanical access room. Respirators, protective clothing, training for employees, safety meetings, and medical evaluations for personnel were all included in the recommendations following the investigation.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-87-207-1845; Region-8; Hazard-Confirmed; Hospital-equipment; Health-care-personnel; Laboratory-workers; Nervous-system-disorders; Author Keywords: hospitals; ethylene oxide; gas sterilization
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: February 7, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division