Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Updates Ethylene Oxide Exposure Limit

On Friday May 15 the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) finalized its updated safe exposure level for ethylene oxide.

The update establishes the long-term effects screening level (ESL) at 2.4 parts per billion (ppb). The previous ethylene oxide ESL, a preliminary standard, was 1 ppb.

Previous assessments of the chemical’s risk by other agencies forced the closure of some ethylene oxide sterilization facilities in other parts of the country and threaten more closures. These closures have already caused a shortage of pediatric tracheostomy (breathing) tubes, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an alert about possible additional disruptions in the supply of sterile medical devices.

Using the most current science, the new limit remains protective for people living near facilities that emit ethylene oxide while providing flexibility for the medical sterilization industry to continue its own critical role in patient care in the state of Texas.

For more information please read TCEQ’s press release here.

For detailed information regarding Ethylene Oxide exposure levels, read TCEQ’s assessment fact sheet here.

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