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March 1968

Safe Standard of Aeration for Ethylene Oxide Sterilized Supplies

Author Affiliations

USA; USA; USA, Washington, DC
From the Division of Surgery, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (Drs. Matsumoto and Hardaway), the US Army Medical Biomechanical Research Laboratory (Drs. Pani and Margetis, and Mr. Bartak), and the Centralized Materiel Section, Walter Reed General Hospital, Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Miss Sater), Washington, DC.

Arch Surg. 1968;96(3):464-470. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01330210142028

MANY articles on the application of ethylene oxide in hospital use have been published.1-14 The main advantage of this agent lies in its ability to sterilize heatlabile and moisture-labile materials which cannot be sterilized by steam under pressure or by dry heat. Unfortunately, studies have indicated that ethylene oxide will persist in such materials as plastic, rubber and leather, etc, for several hours and, in some instances, for several days.15

Complications may result from the use of these materials which have been sterilized by ethylene oxide but have not been aired for a sufficient length of time. The number and type of items sterilized by ethylene oxide have been increasing with the development of new and more sophisticated techniques. It has been recommended that adequate aeration for all materials which will come in contact with the human body either directly or indirectly is highly essential and imperative. However,