Safe Use of Chemicals for Sterilization in Healthcare

ChemDAQ’s Richard Warburton has an article in the latest issue of The Association for Advances in Medical Instrumentation’s (AAMI) peer reviewed journal Biomedical Instrumentation and Technology. The Spring 2012 edition focuses on sterilization; and the article is titled “Safe Use of Chemicals for Sterilization in Healthcare” The article reviews the various types of low temperature chemical sterilization used today. Sterilization is achieved by exposing the items to be sterilized to high concentrations of reactive chemicals and sterilant chemicals, find therefore these chemicals are by their nature hazardous, otherwise they would not function well in this role.

Sterilant chemicals fall into two broad chemical groups, the alkylating agents (ethylene oxide, aldehydes) and the oxidizing agents (hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, ozone). The article discusses the hazards associated with their use, the evolving occupational exposure limits associated with them (especially PAA) and offers advice to employers how to assess and mitigate the risk of using these chemicals and meet the requirements of the workplace safety laws. Article Citation: P. Richard Warburton (2012) Safe Use of Chemicals for Sterilization in Healthcare. Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology: Reprocessing, Vol. sp12, No. 1, pp. 37-43. The journal requires AAMI membership or payment to gain access.