Ethylene oxide has been used in industry for two decades for the sterilization of materials which cannot withstand steam sterilization. Hospital applications have awaited development of equipment suitable for the gamut from small instrument sterilization in a physician's office to the sterilization of hospital equipment and bedding. A large walk-in type of ethylene oxide sterilizer has been developed1 and is currently being used at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital for sterilization of furniture, bedding, rugs, draperies, and equipment which cannot be steam sterilized. The process involves five steps: heating the load to 140 F; evacuation of air from the load; humidification to achieve a moisture content of 25 to 30%; introduction of ethylene oxide, inerted by the addition of carbon dioxide, to a level of 760 mg. per liter; and exposure of three hours. The whole process is automatic, and tests with spores of Bacillus subtilis and Clostridium sporogenes
Walter CW, Kundsin RB. FAULTY FUNCTION OF TABLE MODEL ETHYLENE OXIDE STERILIZER. JAMA. 1959;170(13):1543–1544. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.63010130001012
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