Ethylene Oxide (EtO)
Gas Sterilization

Monitoring Your Environment

Get To Know Ethylene Oxide

Ethylene Oxide (EtO or EO) is produced in large volumes colorless and odorless, as well as, flammable and explosive.  Ethylene Oxide is a highly toxic, penetrating gas and is most often used as an intermediate in the production of other chemical gases and as a sterilizing gas for medical devices and instruments.  EtO is also used as an in the production of other chemicals, the most recognizable one being ethylene glycol.  Unfortunately, Ethylene Oxide possesses multiple physical and health hazards that call for special attention. Monitoring the breathing environment near Ethylene Oxide gas sterilization equipment is important because this is an area that calls for special attention when it comes to Ethylene Oxide (EtO).  Every environment that is using Ethylene Oxide, should pair their work environment with a ChemDAQ Air Monitor, to make sure workers are safe. 

Applications for Ethylene Oxide (EtO) Gas Sterilization:

  • Medical device manufacturing
  • Low temperature steriliztion process for medical instruments
  • Low temperature sterilization process for medical packs
Keep your employees safe by monitoring ethylene oxide.

What are the dangers of Ethylene Oxide Gas Sterilization?

The dangers of Ethylene Oxide, and the need to monitor ETO gas vapor, are well established.  One of the biggest dangers of Ethylene Oxide gas is that EtO is a known human carcinogen and overexposure to EtO can pose many negative health effects.  It presents significant challenges to those who work with Ethylene Oxide sterilization processes in hospital and commercial applications.  No worker should not know how much Ethylene Oxide they're breathing in, especially because it is a known human carcinogen. Workers are also at risk while Ethylene Oxide off-gassing, and without monitoring the off-gassing in the air, your employees are at risk.

Ethylene Oxide is difficult to monitor due to cross-interference from common chemicals, such as, alcohol and carbon monoxide vapors.  This often leads to inaccurate readings and false alarms.

Patented Chemical Filter Provides ETO Sensor Specificity

ChemDAQ incorporates a unique and patented filter in all of it's Ethylene Oxide sensors, providing true and accurate readings of Ethylene Oxide vapor exposure.

  • Eye irritation : eye damage after prolonged exposure

  • Nose and throat irritation

  • Skin irritation dermatitis

  • Respiratory distress

  • Known human carcinogen

  • Affects both the female and male reproductive systems

  • Birth defects

  • Increased risk of miscarriage

Regulations/ Guidelines for Ethylene Oxide

Exposure limits and guidelines when using ethylene oxide have been set by a number of national agencies including the following:

OSHA: Occupational and Safety Health Administration
OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) :  1.0 ppm (8 Hr TWA) 

NIOSH: National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
NIOSH Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) :  800 ppm

JC: Joint Commission
Joint Commission Standard EC.02.02.01

ACGIH : American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienist
ACGIH Threshold Limit Values TLV
:  1.0 ppm  (8 Hr TWA)
OSHA Hazard Communications 29 CFR 1910.1200

: Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrument
AAMI ST:41:1999 and ST:58:2013

: United Kingdom Health & Safety Executive
UK HSE Long-Term
: 5 ppm  

1 ppm (8 Hr TWA)

    Monitoring solutions for Ethylene Oxide.

    ChemDAQ’s Ethylene Oxide gas sterilization monitor provides real-time readings of vapor levels in the air for safety assurance.  Make sure to use our resources below to make sure every employee is safe while working around Ethylene Oxide.