Ethylene Oxide Exposure: What You Need to Know

Recently, ethylene oxide has been making news in the area around Covington, Georgia, due to concerns over emissions from a nearby factory. This story got us to thinking about the problems associated with this dangerous chemical and what those who may be exposed can do to protect themselves. Here’s what you need to know about ethylene oxide exposure


  What Are the Risks of Ethylene Oxide Exposure?


Like many industrial chemicals, ethylene oxide has been tied to a wide range of human health issues. Exposure can result in irritation of eyes and skin, as well as neurological and reproductive disorders. As if these effects aren’t concerning enough, ethylene oxide exposure has also been linked to increased risk for a variety of cancers, including breast, lung and brain cancer.


  How Could You Be Exposed to Ethylene Oxide?


The most common and direct means of ethylene oxide exposure is by working in a facility where it is used. The chemical is used widely in industrial plants, but it is also used to sterilize medical instruments. As a result, people employed as industrial workers and sterilization technicians are both at occupational risk of exposure.


The larger problem, though, is the possibility of exposure via contaminated air. With an air exposure limit of just 18 parts per billion, any appreciable amount of ethylene oxide vented into the air has the potential to cause health problems. This potential for the chemical to cause harm even in low concentrations has been a central feature of the dispute over its use near Covington, where residents claim the nearby plant is responsible for increased levels of cancer throughout the area, despite the fact that the plant actually exceeds the federal requirement for destroying ethylene oxide emissions.


  Can an Air Purifier Help?


If the air in your area is contaminated with ethylene oxide, a home air purifier may be able to help. By capturing ethylene oxide and other chemicals in your home, a good air purifier can help you and your family breathe easier and lower your overall exposure to contaminants. For ethylene oxide exposure, we recommend the Amaircare 3000 VOC and the Airpura C600DLX. Both of these great air purifiers can remove ethylene oxide and other VOCs from the air and make your home a healthier place to live


Have questions about ethylene oxide and how an air purifier can help? Feel free to contact us for answers and product recommendations based on your specific needs!


Disclaimer: While an air purifier may be useful as a preventative measure, the use of one does not guarantee your safety in the presence of ethylene oxide, which is a highly dangerous gas. If you are exposed to high concentrations of this gas, it is advisable to leave the area and seek medical assistance if necessary. Claims made in this article do not constitute and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice.