3 Benefits Of Outsourcing Your Ethylene Oxide Sterilization Needs Instead Of Performing It In-House

Ethylene oxide has been used to sterilize sensitive medical equipment for decades, and it's the best method for sterilizing delicate items that would be damaged by the high temperatures of steam sterilization. It's also a good alternative to gamma irradiation as a method of sterilization, as radiation exposure can cause plastic components in medical equipment to become extremely brittle.

In order to sterilize equipment with ethylene oxide, items are loaded into a chamber and then exposed to the gas for a long period of time. Ethylene oxide is highly toxic, and it rapidly kills pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and spores. Unfortunately, the toxicity of ethylene oxide makes using it and storing it difficult, which is why many medical device manufacturers and hospitals use a third-party EO sterilization service to eliminate pathogens on their medical equipment. Outsourcing your sterilization needs simplifies your workflow and relieves you from having to handle and store hazardous material. To learn three benefits of outsourcing your EO sterilization needs, read on.

1. Reduces Legal Liability Arising From Ethylene Oxide Use

One of the most common reasons why medical device manufacturers and hospitals outsource their EO sterilization needs is that it limits liability. Ethylene oxide is toxic, and regular exposure increases your risk of developing white blood cell cancers.

When you run your own EO sterilization facility, you open yourself up to the risk of being sued by employees or people who live near your facility if they're accidentally exposed to ethylene oxide and develop cancer as a result. When you outsource your sterilization needs to an EO sterilization service, the contractor assumes this liability, protecting you from potential lawsuits.

2. Eliminates Up-Front Costs Associated With Building a Sterilization Facility

Building an EO sterilization facility has high up-front costs, which may be difficult for smaller medical device manufacturers and hospitals to afford. In addition to constructing a large sterilization chamber and purchasing ethylene oxide, the building needs to be constructed to be explosion-resistant.

Ethylene oxide can explode if it comes into contact with a significant amount of oxygen, so the area around the sterilization chamber needs to be reinforced in order to limit the amount of damage that occurs from a potential explosion. This increases the cost of building the facility and results in large up-front capital expenditure to perform your own EO sterilization in-house. When you work with an outside EO sterilization service, you can avoid this expenditure since they will already have the equipment and building required.

3. Avoids the Need To Store and Manage a Hazardous Gas

Finally, ethylene oxide is regulated as a hazardous material due to its toxicity. When performing your own sterilization in-house, you'll need to come up with a plan to manage it throughout its entire life cycle, including safe disposal. Managing the paperwork required can be a hassle, and you may be fined if you accidentally let ethylene oxide leak into the atmosphere. When you choose to outsource your EO sterilization instead, you won't have to deal with the government regulations regarding how to store and dispose of it, which simplifies your operations.

Overall, the primary reason to outsource your sterilization needs to a third-party EO sterilization service is that you don't need to handle a hazardous material on your own, which limits the amount of legal liability and regulatory hurdles you'll take on. When you want to keep your business operations simple, it's always a good idea to use a third-party EO sterilization service.