November 12, 2019

ECRI Institute opposes proposed ban of EtO sterilization

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

ECRI Institute on November 7 announced that it opposes a total ban of commercial ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilization operations because it could result in widespread shortages of sterile medical devices.

Hospitals around the country reported device shortages after a large Illinois-based sterilization plant closed because of state environmental pressures.


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Illinois legislators are considering an outright ban on EtO sterilization.  A 2016 report by the Environmental Protection Agency noted possible health risks from EtO emissions.

In a news release, Marcus Schabacker, MD, PhD, president and CEO of ECRI Institute, argued that “While environmental health concerns certainly need to be addressed, legislators and the public should be aware that an ethylene oxide ban could severely impact the safe delivery of healthcare. Without access to medical supplies, many surgeries and procedures would not be possible."

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