Ethylene Oxide - What You Should Know

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1. ETHYLENE OXIDE Ethylene oxide (EtO) is both a flammable and highly reactive chemical primarily used as an intermediate in the production of several industrial chemicals, the most notable of which is ethylene glycol. It is also used as a fumigant in certain agricultural products and as a sterilant for medical equipment and supplies. Unfortunately, EtO possesses several physical and health hazards that merit special attention. OSHA PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit) 1.0 ppm NIOSH IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health) 800 ppm American Conference of Governmental Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Values (TLV) 1.0 ppm EtO Vapor Exposure Guidelines Health Risks of Ethylene Oxide Exposure ● Human carcinogen, mutagen and teratogen ● Pulmonary edema ● Permanent lung damage ● Permanent eye damage ● Damaged mucous membranes ● Skin burns ● Chemical burns ● Affects both the male and female reproductive systems; in women, higher risk of miscarriages.


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