Which cautions should be kept in mind in handling the ethylene oxide?

The ethylene oxide is toxic and flammable, that´s why it is recomemended:

  • Remember that the sterilization by ethylene oxide is an alternative method. Therefore the use of this gas should be reduced to those cases in which no other sterilization method can be used.
  • Restrict the use of ethylene oxide to certain places. Provide with a forced extraction of air to guarantee a permanent airflow in the sterilization area.
  • Evaluate and choose the most suitable sterilization equipment; Handle them properly an carry out preventive maintenance periodically.
  • Comply with the transport and storage norms for the ethylene oxide.
  • Keep any source of ignition (fire) away from the ethylene oxide, either in the working place or during the transport or in the storage place.
  • Provide education trainning to the personnel who work in the sterilization area.
  • Prepare an action plan in case of emergencies and catastrophes.
  • If the ethylene oxide enters in contact with the operator, this person will have to wash the affected area with plenty of cold water.
  • If the vapors of ethylene oxide are inhaled, the operator should be taken outdoors immediately.
  • If the operator finds it difficult to breath, he should be helped with oxygen while the doctor arrives.
  • Seek for medical advice, after providing first aids treatment.

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