Popular toxic chemical used for sterilizing medical equipment slashed by EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency is enforcing limits on a cancer-causing chemical used to sterilize medical equipment, it announced Thursday. 

Ethylene oxide, one of the most toxic air pollutants regulated by the EPA, is used to clean billions of daily medical instruments such as catheters and syringes. This colorless, flammable gas has been associated with types of cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia.  

On Thursday, the EPA confirmed that it will lower ethylene oxide emissions by 90% by enforcing commercial sterilization facilities in the United States to test for the antimicrobial chemical. The rule is poised to “safeguard public health from this pollution – including the health of children, who are particularly vulnerable to carcinogens early in life.”

FILE – A syringe is prepared at a clinic in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Dec.
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