Monitoring the Interior of the EtO Cartridge Flammable Storage Cabinet

Within sterile processing departments, the predominant modality for ethylene oxide sterilization is the sealed EtO cartridge approach, as sold by 3M. In its Product Profile on the Steri-Gas™ EO cartridges, 3M puts forth these recommendations: Keep all sources of ignition such as matches, lighted cigarettes, sparks and static discharge away from the sterilizer and cartridges.…

Errant use of gas chromatography for area monitoring of ethylene oxide in SPD departments

In recent months, we have seen certain people touting systems using gas chromatography (provided with a photo-ionization detector) for area monitoring of ethylene oxide in Supply, Processing, and Distribution (SPD) departments. [Sometimes SPD stands for Sterile Processing Department or Sterile Processing and Distribution.] Such systems, despite their expense, were reasonably popular 15–20 years ago. However, for…

Predominant EtO Monitoring Methods Used By Hospitals

Gas detection methods have been changing and evolving and awareness has heightened as well, along with the ever changing methods of sterilization. To answer your question regarding what “most” hospitals are using to monitor EtO, a fair response would be narrowed down to either electrochemical sensors or gas chromatographs (GCs). Interscan has sold close to…

Our commentary on OSHA’s Small Business Guide for Ethylene Oxide

On 30 April 2009, OSHA released a comprehensive document entitled “Small Business Guide for Ethylene Oxide.” This new publication is available as a spiffy pdf (14.2 MB) or as a more browsable web page. The agency considers it to be a “guidance document,” in that it is advisory in nature, is informational in content, and…

New requirements for EtO usage

EPA and FIFRA While most matters regarding occupational exposure to toxic compounds—in the United States—fall under the purview of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), in some cases, other federal agencies are also involved. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), 7 United States Code §§ 136–136y (2008), the EPA has re-registered ethylene…

If an EtO area monitor is installed, are bi-weekly leak tests still required?

The original reference for periodic leak testing comes from 29 CFR 1910.1047 App A, and is entitled “Substance safety data sheet for ethylene oxide (non-mandatory).” Section VII-2-i of the document states: Leak detection. Sterilizer door gaskets, cylinder and vacuum piping, hoses, filters, and valves must be checked for leaks under full pressure with a Fluorocarbon…

EtO Instrumentation Calibration and Surrogate Calibration Techniques

Written in response to a particular inquiry, this article is posted since it is of general interest. Calibration is a very important issue. One of Interscan’s competitors recommends calibrating its EtO monitor with CO (Carbon Monoxide). There is nothing wrong with using CO to calibrate an analyzer, assuming it is a CO analyzer that you…

Complying with 40 CFR Part 63 subpart WWWWW–National Emission Standards for Hospital Ethylene Oxide Sterilizers

Background In the continuing regulatory assault on ethylene oxide, more rules now apply. Fortunately, these latest statutes are not at all difficult to comply with. The new rule is called “National Emission Standards for Hospital Ethylene Oxide Sterilizers.” It was published on 28 December 2007 as 40 CFR Part 63, with particular notice given to…