The EPA has approved and regulated the use of ethylene oxide for sterilizing medical equipment, veterinary supplies, and bulk grain in recirculating systems. It has been used to control diseases in honeycombs and honeybee equipment. It is also widely used in the food and pharmaceutical industries to prevent spoilage. It is a key ingredient in antifreeze and is highly reactive.
Most medical devices are sterilized using ethylene oxide, and it can be used for several applications. The process temperature for this chemical is about 25°C and is commonly used in vacuum-fumigated foods. Lower temperatures reduce the toxicity, but longer exposure times lead to increased risk. Nevertheless, it is still an effective way to sterilize materials. However, health authorities are recommending that it be discarded for non-medical purposes.
Innovative ways to sterilize medical devices are being developed and implemented by the FDA. It is working closely with medical device manufacturers, other government agencies, and sterilization experts to develop and implement new methods. The HICPAC, a group of experts in infection control and other fields, meets regularly to discuss new and improved methods of ethylene oxide sterilization. In the meantime, the FDA is encouraging medical device manufacturers to utilize new methods of ethylene oxide for sterilization.
Although ethylene oxide is widely used in the medical field, beekeeping uses it only as a fumigant for agricultural products, accounting for less than 1% of the total usage of ethylene oxide in the United States. It is used in the production of nonionic surfactants such as ethylene glycol, acrylonitrile, and methylenediamine. In North Carolina, a state-managed facility fumigates beehive materials.
The process of sterilizing products with EO requires a high-pressure process. The mixture of EO and CO2 is a toxic gas and must be completely ejected from the environment for safety purposes. Once the necessary concentration in the chamber is achieved, the sterilization stage begins. When the EO is injected into the load, the gas penetrates the load and enters through the jacket.
The process of ethylene oxide sterilization is used for sterilizing various types of materials, including food and beverages. Its use is highly reliable, and the chemical residues produced may include alkylated and low-molecular-weight compounds. Its versatility in sterilizing medical devices makes it a good choice for many industries. If you have a product to sterilize, ethylene-oxide sterilization is the best solution.
Ethylene Oxide is a popular sterilizing agent. It is an effective heat-sensitive sterilant, and is used in a variety of medical devices. Most of the devices undergoing ethylene oxide sterilization are heat-sensitive, and they must be sterile and free of any foreign material. This is why a number of medical devices require ETO.