Thread: Ethylene Oxide

  1. #1
    lutan Guest

    Red face Ethylene Oxide

    Has anyone had anything to do with Ethylene Oxide (UN #1040)?

    We've recently discovered a factory in our area will be storing and using large quantities of this stuff for sterilisation purposes. Info I have so far is that it is pretty bad stuff, but I have no "frontline" info from fire departments.

    If anyone has had an incident involving this stuff, share your experience....

  2. #2
    Lewiston2Capt Guest


    Try this web site. I work for Praxair and we make this stuff. Hope your search for info goes well.

    Shawn M. Cecula
    Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

  3. #3
    Petie Guest


    There have been many incidents involving EO or ethylene oxide in the U.S.
    One incident happened in Gary, Indiana in June, 1997 in which one of two facilities that package it for sterilizing purposes had an explosion. The explosion killed two people. Ironically, the other facility that packages it in Edgerton, Wisconsin also had an EO explosion just 2 weeks later. Fortunately, noone was killed or injured but the building was severely compromised. Static electricity is believed to be the ignition source.
    We have also had several EO leaks at hospitals in our area that use 100# cylinders for sterilization purposes. Some evacuations have taken place but we now have monitors in the EO areas to warn of leaks before they get too out of hand.
    This stuff demands our respect! It is very flammable, range is 3 to 100%, it is toxic-TLV is 1 ppm, it is a carcinogen, a mutagen, and a teratogen. Be careful!

  4. #4
    ALSfirefighter Guest



    I haven't had any true incident experience with EO, but my previous first due area had a facitlity that used it for sterilization of surgical equipment also. The tanks were stored in a room with an exhaust system, and also had a EO release alarm on it that was tied into the fire alarm system. Of course we had numerous malfunctions, but it was nice to always know when we were responding for the possibility of that specific incident. Several of my guys has had similiar experiences that Petie explained, and they mostly just ventilated the area to the outside atmosphere and monitored the air for LEL's/O2 etc.

    The above is my opinion/experiences only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

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