Cancers associated with exposure to EO include, Lymphoma and leukemia are the cancers most frequently reported to be associated with occupational exposure to ethylene oxide. Stomach and breast cancers may also be associated with ethylene oxide exposure.
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Sterilization, Packaging, and Materials: CRITICAL CONSIDERATIONS
EO residues. One of the main negative aspects of EO sterilization is the residues remaining after process. In order to remove of the residual gas (EO) or by-product (ethylene chlorohydrin [ECH], formed in the presence of chlorine ions), a heated aeration step is required. Desorption kinetics is influenced by temperature but also by the nature of materials. The polymers have various absorption, adsorption, and desorption properties. The adsorbed EO is relatively easy to remove during the sterilization cycle, where absorbed EO is more difficult to eliminate.
Which cancers are associated with exposure to ethylene oxide?
Lymphoma and leukemia are the cancers most frequently reported to be associated with occupational exposure to ethylene oxide. Stomach and breast cancers may also be associated with ethylene oxide exposure.
The main disadvantages associated with ETO are the lengthy cycle time, the cost, and its potential hazards to patients and staff; the main advantage is that it can sterilize heat- or moisture-sensitive medical equipment without deleterious effects on the material used in the medical devices (Table 6). Acute exposure to ETO may result in irritation (e.g., to skin, eyes, gastrointestinal or respiratory tracts) and central nervous system depression.859-862 Chronic inhalation has been linked to the formation of cataracts, cognitive impairment, neurologic dysfunction, and disabling polyneuropathies.860, 861, 863-866Occupational exposure in healthcare facilities has been linked to hematologic changes 867 and an increased risk of spontaneous abortions and various cancers318, 868-870. ETO should be considered a known human carcinogen.871