Toxic Gas That Sterilizes Medical Devices Prompts Safety Rule Update

Madeline Beal, a senior risk communication adviser for the Environmental Protection Agency, has been addressing concerns about ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing gas used to sterilize medical devices. Residents near facilities emitting the gas want to know why the EPA took so long to warn them and are seeking stricter regulations. The EPA is expected to finalize tighter safety rules for ethylene oxide by March 1, following increased awareness of cancer risks from exposure. Industry groups worry about increased costs and potential risks to patients. Lawsuits have been filed in communities near sterilizing plants, with concerns about long-term health effects from exposure to ethylene oxide.

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