May 16, 2018
Is Hydrogen Peroxide the new Ethylene Oxide? Ethylene Oxide was first used to sterilize surgical instruments back in the 1950s. It was used routinely and considered a mild irritant without much attention to its safe use until the 1980s, when research determined it to be a cancer-causing agent. New regulations and safe practice guidelines quickly followed, including monitoring the air when ETO is in use. Today, ETO continues to be used safely and effectively by hospitals across the US.
Hydrogen Peroxide was introduced as a replacement for ETO back in the 1980s. Most hospitals have since converted and at the same time many discontinued the safety practices they used with ETO. Unfortunately, the more that is learned about H₂O₂ , the more we know it shares many of the same exposure limits and threshold values as ETO….making it just as important to continue to follow safety guidelines, including monitoring the air when H₂O₂ is in use. Research continues, and more regulations could one day be put in place….just like was done for ETO.
|ETHYLENE OXIDE||HYDROGEN PEROXIDE|
|OSHA PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit)||1.0 ppm||1.0 ppm|
|NIOSH IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health)||800 ppm||75 ppm|
|American Conference of Governmental Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLV)||1.0 ppm||1.0 ppm|
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