What Chemicals are Used in my Sterilizer or High-Level Disinfectant Equipment?

Do you know the chemicals used in low-temperature sterilizers or high-level disinfectant equipment that you use every day? Here is a quick, high-level guide with some of the most common brands and chemicals used in them.

Low-Temperature Sterilizer Brands, Chemicals and Concentrations

Company Low-Temp Sterilizer Chemical Biocide Source Concentration (w/w)
Johnson & Johnson (ASP) Sterrad Hydrogen Peroxide 58 – 95%
Steris V-Pro Hydrogen Peroxide 59%
Steris Amsco Eagle 3017 Ethylene Oxide 100%
3M Steri-vac 5XL. 8XL Ethylene Oxide 100%
3M Steri-vac GS Series Ethylene Oxide 100%
TSO3/Getinge STERIZONE Hydrogen Peroxide, Ozone 50% H2O2, O3 generated internally

Something very important to note – many people believe the myth that the hydrogen peroxide used in low-temperature sterilizers is the same as the hydrogen peroxide you can get at the grocery store. Unfortunately, this is not true. The concentration in the sterilizers can go as high as 95% – much higher and more dangerous than the hydrogen peroxide from the grocery store (~3%).

High-Level Disinfection Equipment Brands and Chemicals

Company High-Level Disinfection Chemical Biocide
Steris System 1e Peracetic Acid
Medivator Medivator Peracetic Acid, Ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA)
Olympus OER- PRO Gluteraldehyde, Peracetic Acid
Custom Ultrasonics System 83 Gluteraldehyde, Peracetic Acid, OPA
Johnson & Johnson (ASP)  ENDOCLENS-NSX OPA

Worker Exposure Limits For the Chemicals

Ethylene Oxide Hydrogen Peroxide Peracetic Acid Glutaraldehyde OPA
OSHA 8hr/15min PEL 1 ppm / 5 ppm 1 ppm / – – / – – / – – / –
ACGIH 8hr/15min TLV 1 ppm / – 1 ppm / – – / 0.4 ppm 0.05 ppm / – – / –*
NIOSH 8hr/10min REL <0.1 ppm / 5 ppm 1 ppm / – – / – 0.2 ppm / – – / –
NIOSH IDLH 800 ppm 75 ppm 0.55 ppm (proposed) – / – – / –

* TLV under development

With advances in sterilization technology, and shorter cycle times, technicians are now processing instruments multiple times per day, using more concentrated chemicals than previously, putting them at increased risk of exposure to hazardous levels of sterilant vapor. Every day, more and more hospitals are choosing to monitor the air around this potentially dangerous equipment – shouldn’t you?

Contact ChemDAQ today for more information on real-time monitoring systems.