Ethylene Oxide

CAS RN: 75-21-8

Major Uses

/In the/ manufacture of ethylene glycol and higher glycols, surfactants, acrylonitrile, ethanolamines; petroleum demulsifier; fumigant; rocket propellant; industrial sterilant (e.g., medical plastic tubing); fungicide.
For Ethylene oxide (USEPA/OPP Pesticide Code: 042301) ACTIVE products with label matches. /SRP: Registered for use in the U.S. but approved pesticide uses may change periodically and so federal, state and local authorities must be consulted for currently approved uses./
ETO is an antimicrobial and conventional chemical. It is a biocide, Pesticide: fungicide, fumigant, herbicide, insecticide, rodenticide used to control the following pests: American foulbrood disease (Bacillus larvae), animal pathogenic bacteria, animal pathogenic fungi, bacteria, bacterial spores, Candida albicans, European foulbrood disease (Streptoccus pluton), Herpes simplex virus, Hew (FDA/BVM), unspecified microorganisms, Mycobacterium spp., Nosema apis, Pseudomonas spp., Rhinoviruses, storage microorganisms, stored product insects, wax moth. ... ETO is used to sterilize medical or laboratory equipment, pharmaceuticals, and aseptic packaging ... or to reduce microbial load on musical instruments, cosmetics, whole and ground spices or other seasoning materials ... and artifacts, archival material or library objects. In North Carolina, ETO is also used to fumigate beehive equipment (eg, woodenware boxes and frames) and wax or plastic combs that are contaminated with the bacteria Paenibacillus larvae, the cause of American Foulbrood Disease.
ETO is used to sterilize new and reusable medical equipment (eg, surgical instruments, hypodermic needles/syringes, surgical prosthetic parts, hemodialysis machines, heart and lung machines, dental instruments, veterinary instruments, heat labile material, moisture labile material, oral and inhalation equipment, diagnostic instruments, thermometers, surgical dressings, first aid equipment). Approximately 7.4 million pounds are used annually for sterilization of medical and laboratory items/equipment. ... Despite the fact that there are several methods that are available to sterilize medical devices, no currently available sterilization treatment can replace ETO for some uses, including certain heat-sensitive and irradiation-sensitive materials and some instruments and devices that require sterilization on-site in hospitals.
Library and museum artifacts are treated with ETO to control various pests, such as fungi and insects. Current use of ETO for archival material appears to be infrequent and limited to important preservation needs when alternatives are considered ineffective. This use accounts for less than 1 percent of the total annual usage of ETO for commercial fumigation/sterilization.
ETO is used during the processing of some gums and dyes in manufacturing cosmetics to reduce microbial activity of organisms that can contaminate ingredients. In addition, other associated products such as packaging material for cosmetics may be treated with ETO. Ingredients that are treated with ETO are sent to contract sterilizing facilities for the fumigation treatment ... . This use accounts for less than 1 percent of the total annual usage of ETO for commercial fumigation/sterilization.
Each year in the United States approximately 32 percent of whole spices (including herbs) are treated with ETO. ... Treatment includes spices grown domestically as well as those imported into the United States. An estimated maximum of approximately 800,000 pounds are used annually for fumigation of herbs and spices. This represents about 10 percent of the total ETO sterilization market. ... Some of the countries that have banned the use of ETO on spices (and other foods) include: Belize, China, the European Union (EU, currently numbering 25 countries), Australia, and Japan.
The use of ETO for beehive material currently is limited to a state-managed facility in North Carolina via a Special Local Needs (SLN) registration. ... The beekeeping use accounts for less than 1 percent of the total annual usage of ETO for commercial fumigation/sterilization.
Ethylene oxide is used for the production of chemicals, although most human exposure occurs from its use in sterilization medical equipment.
Rocket propellant
Fumigant for foodstuffs and textiles; to sterilize surgical instruments; agricultural fungicide. In organic syntheses, especially in the production of ethylene glycol. Starting material for the manufacture of acrylonitrile and nonionic surfactants.
... For treatment by fumigation of books; dental, pharmaceutical, medical & scientific equipment & supplies, ... Drugs; leather; motor oil; paper; soil; bedding for experimental animals; ... Furniture; & transportation vehicles ... .
Formation of diethylene glycol, the cellosolves and carbitols, dioxane, ethylene chlorohydrin and polymer (carbowax); intermediate for polyethylene terephthalate polyester fiber.
Sterilant & sporocide-eg, in health care indust
Used as a fumigation agent on ... beehives (empty and diseased), beekeeping equipment ... .
Used on hospital equipment including: hypodermic needles/syringes, surgical prosthetic parts, heart and lung machines, dental, hospital and laboratory instruments, heat labile materials, moisture labile materials, oral and inhalation equipment, diagnostic instruments/equipment, hospital critical rubber, plastic items, hospital critical equipment, thermometers, laboratory equipment, pharmaceutical equipment, stainless steel surfaces; and on hospital fabrics, materials, paper products, sheeting, grooming instruments.
Chemical intermediate for ethylene glycols, ethanolamines, glycol ethers & surfactants.
... intermediate in the production of various chemicals, such as glycol ... used in hospitals and in the pharmaceutical and food industries for sterilization of medical equipment and foodstuffs
The major use (more than 99%) of ethylene oxide in the United States is as an intermediate in the production of several industrial chemicals ... . The remainder is used in the gaseous form, either alone or combined with nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or dichlorofluoromethane as a sterilizing agent, disinfectant, fumigant, or insecticide. About 60% of the ethylene oxide is used to produce ethylene glycol (antifreeze). Other chemicals that are produced from ethylene oxide include non-ionic surfactants (used in industrial applications, detergents, and dishwashing formulations), glycol ethers, ethanolamines (used in soaps, detergents, and textile chemicals), diethylene glycol, triethylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, and urethane polyols. Although a relatively small percentage of ethylene oxide is used as a fumigant or sterilizing agent, these uses include a variety of facilities, products, and materials, including hospital equipment, medical and dental clinics, research laboratories, foods, furs, clothing, furniture, books, paper, leather, cosmetics, drugs, railroad cars, beehives, and tobacco. Facilities that manufacture sterile disposable medical supplies and medical facilities, including hospitals, medical and dental clinics, and private surgeries for doctors and dentists, account for about 95% of the ethylene oxide used as a fumigant or sterilant. In hospitals, ethylene oxide is used as a gaseous sterilant for heat-sensitive medical items, surgical instruments, and other objects and fluids coming in contact with biological tissues. Prior to 1966, ethylene oxide was used as an intermediate in the production of acrylonitrile.
CHEMICAL PROFILE: Ethylene Oxide. Ethylene oxide (EO) is primarily used as an intermediate. About 64.5% of global output is converted to monoethylene glycol (MEG) for polyester fiber and resin and antifreeze formulation, whilw 7.3% is used in diethylene (DEG) and triethylene glycol (TEG). the second largest use is alkoxylates and ethoxylates for detergents. Other derivatives are ethanolamines, polyethylene (PE)/polyalkyl glycols, ethylene carbonate and glycol ethers. EO is also used as a fumigant, disinfectant and sterilant for medical products.
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