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Promoting the safe use of Ethylene Oxide for Sterilization
Proper medical device sterilization is critical to patient care, and ethylene oxide is critical in medical device sterilization. Ethylene oxide is known as the most universal sterilant because it can be used for sterilization of almost all medical devices including plastic and heat sensitive materials. The same cannot be said for other technologies, such as heat sterilization, radiation or peroxide. Ethylene oxide is used to sterilize items that are essential for saving lives – including fiber optic endoscopes, surgical telescopes, ophthalmic instruments, speculas, syringes, anesthesia masks, catheters, respirators, inhalation supplies, and even surgical staplers, staples and sutures.
The role of ethylene oxide sterilization will likely increase. As surgical procedures become more specialized, doctors are moving toward customized surgical kits. Ethylene oxide is the preferred technology and is often the required sterlization method for these surgical kits. Why? Because if just one item in those surgical kits cannot use alternate sterilization technologies – because it is plastic or heat sensitive, then the entire kit must be sterilized with ethylene oxide. Given the growing use of these custom surgical kits, the use of ethylene oxide is becoming even more important to the medical industry and to the health and well-being of the patient community.
The EOSA invites you to learn more about ethylene oxide and its use in sterilization.