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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-89-006-2002, Washington Hospital, Washington, Pennsylvania.
Newman MA; Freund E
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 89-006-2002, 1989 Dec; :1-14
In response to a request from the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, an evaluation was made of a potential health hazard resulting from exposure to ethylene-oxide (75218) (EtO) and a perceived increase in the incidence of cancer at Washington Hospital (SIC-8062), Washington, Pennsylvania. The workers in the Central Supply Department were located in the basement wing and used EtO in hospital supply and surgical instrument sterilization. The sterilizer area was ventilated by a dedicated exhaust system. The sterilizer had a 15 minute conditioning phase followed by a 2 hour sterilization cycle and a 12 hour aeration cycle. Five 8 hour general area air samples were collected at locations chosen to give the highest possible readings. All EtO concentrations were below the limit of detection with the exception of a 1.63 part per million (ppm) reading 6 inches above the EtO gas cylinder valve and a reading of 0.011ppm directly above the EtO liquid gas separator. No job related health effects were noted following interviews with employees and a review of employee health records. Several cancer cases were noted but they involved several different locations and it was felt unlikely that they were related to EtO exposures. The authors conclude that a health hazard from EtO exposure in the Central Supply Department did not exist at the time of the evaluation. The authors recommend measures to further reduce potential exposures.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-89-006-2002; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Region-3; Hospital-equipment; Health-care-personnel; Air-quality-monitoring; Cancer-rates; Carcinogens; Author Keywords: general medical and surgical hospitals; gas sterilization; ethylene oxide; central supply
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
PA; WA; OH
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division