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Technical assistance report no. TA-78-36, Boulder Memorial Hospital, Boulder, Colorado.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, TA 78-36, 1978 Jul; :1-4
In response to a request from Boulder Memorial Hospital personnel, an evaluation was made of possible hazardous exposures to ethylene- oxide (75218) in the Central Supply sterilization area. The sterilization unit occupied about half a cubic meter. A nurse and an aide were the only personnel in the area during the survey. Breathing zone air samples were significantly below recommended limits. Ethylene-oxide concentrations of 770mg/m3 were found inside the sterilization equipment; a concentration of 202mg/m3 was found in the aeration unit. No equipment leakage was noted, but a potential for overexposure was noted when the sterilizer was first opened. The author concludes that no hazard currently exists for worker exposure to ethylene-oxide in this area. The author recommends that a safety ventilation system be installed which could vent air coming from the sterilizer into the room just after the sterilization process is complete. At the time of survey, the only ventilation in the room was intake air moving at about 300 linear feet per minute over a fresh air 1 square foot duct. Other recommendations include immediate placement of equipment in the aeration unit following the sterilization procedure and posting of warning signs at entrances to areas where ethylene-oxide is used as a sterilant.
NIOSH-Author; TA-78-36; Region-8; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Health-care-personnel; Hospital-equipment; Air-quality-monitoring; Vapors; Inhalants; Respiratory-irritants; Ethylenes; Oxides
Field Studies; Technical Assistance
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