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Category Press Release
Publish Date 4/24/2023
Author Paul Cochrane
Title EPA Hosts Community Meeting in Maryland to Discuss Commercial Sterilizer Facility and Potential Ethylene Oxide Exposure Risks
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides environmental and industrial hygiene testing services to identify a wide range of chemicals to protect workers, communities and to help keep companies and institutions in regulatory compliance.

Beltsville, Maryland, April 24, 2023

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it was hosting a community meeting for residents of Salisbury, Maryland. The meeting, to share information about health risks from a chemical known as ethylene oxide (EtO), was planned for the town’s residents due to the presence of a local commercial sterilizer facility.

Ethylene oxide is an organic compound that is produced in large volumes. It is primarily used as an intermediate in the production of several industrial chemicals, the most notable of which is ethylene glycol. Ethylene oxide is also used as a fumigant in various agricultural products, and to sterilize moisture and heat sensitive medical equipment and supplies.

EPA reports:

Exposure to EtO can cause cancer in humans and damage DNA. Other effects of EtO exposure include eye, skin, nose, throat, and lung irritation as well as harm to the brain and nervous system (causing effects such as headaches, memory loss, numbness). Workers in facilities that use EtO and people in communities - including historically underserved communities - located adjacent to these facilities have the highest chance of being exposed to EtO. Additionally, because their bodies are still growing, children are expected to be more susceptible to the toxic effects caused by EtO. 

“The agency also shared that it expects to propose an air pollution regulation to protect public health by addressing EtO emissions at commercial sterilizers in the near future,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “There have been a number of similar community meetings hosted by EPA in states and territories across the country that have commercial sterilizer facilities in recent months. At EMSL Analytical, our environmental and industrial hygiene laboratories are pleased to offer laboratory testing services and sampling supplies to detect exposure risks to ethylene oxide and many other industrial chemicals.”

EMSL sponsored an educational video about ethylene oxide and occupational exposure concerns several years ago that can still be seen at: https://youtu.be/_-B8MFnk-ZQ 

To learn more about EtO or other occupational, environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOCs, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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