Infection Control Problems? Ethylene Oxide To The Rescue
Michael D. Shaw -- Expert in Health Care and Environmental Affairs | Washington , DC | November 28, 2017
Ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilization may be the key to fixing the problem of contaminated endoscopes. According to a press release issued by the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, and quoting infection control expert William Rutala:
High level disinfection of endoscopes provides "no margin of safety," while sterilization will provide an increased safety margin of approximately 6 log10. That is, while HLD can provide a 6 log10 reduction in microbial contamination, sterilization offers a 12 log10 reduction (or sterility assurance level of 10–6). He further noted that while HLD removes or inactivates 10 to 100 million spores, sterilization kills 1 trillion spores.
Bear in mind that steam sterilization cannot be used with flexible endoscopes.
Interscan Corporation, a leading manufacturer of area monitoring systems for EtO and other toxic gases, has already seen a resurgence of interest in its popular, field-proven line of EtO air monitors. While EtO is a remarkably effective sterilant, OSHA has mandated—since the 1980s—that facilities using the compound monitor the exposure of their employees for possible leaks from the sterilizers.
"Yes, we are receiving more inquiries and more orders on the EtO systems," says Rose Stransky, of Interscan's corporate sales department. "In certain cases, facilities are starting up formerly mothballed EtO sterilizers. People tell us that they are going back to ethylene oxide because they are concerned about the widely-publicized endoscope issues. They're calling us because we have been providing these monitors for more than 30 years."
"We encourage anyone who is using EtO to contact us, for a hassle-free discussion of their application," Stransky concluded.