Originally seen in the  Interscan Monitor NewsletterFriday, May 18, 2007

Has the tide turned on ethylene oxide (EtO)?

In a recent edition of this newsletter, we reported on the reaction of EPA’s own Science Advisory Board (SAB) to the Agency’s draft “Evaluation of the Carcinogenicity of Ethylene Oxide.” “Harsh” would be a polite way of putting it.

Stung by this bruising rejection, EPA has to adjust some of the findings. We now discover that the Agency has contracted the services of Dr. Kyle Steenland, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

According to EPA, Dr. Steenland “…has unique qualifications to provide assistance to the Agency in the evaluation of the carcinogenicity of ethylene oxide.”

The Agency continues: “He has devoted a significant part of his career to the study and evaluation of the effects of ethylene oxide on humans and has published extensively on the epidemiology of ethylene oxide related effects and methodology for analyzing data that relate to these effects.”

This is a major development since even though the Agency—in its own words— “…relied heavily on the work of Dr. Steenland and his colleagues in preparing the draft Ethylene Oxide Carcinogenicity Assessment (2006),” they have always taken a far more alarmist view toward this chemical than Steenland. You could look it up—and you should—on PubMed.

We are most pleased that one of the top experts in the world will finally be directly involved in this study. We’ll keep you informed.