Management of toxic substances: sterilization sector

Sterilization applications such as those used in health care facilities are major contributors to point source releases of ethylene oxide and other toxic substances in Canada. For example, ethylene oxide, alone or in combination with other inert gases is used in the healthcare sector to sterilize various instruments and by other industries to sterilize heat sensitive goods. Although sterilization does not represent a major use of ethylene oxide in terms of volumes consumed, it is the most significant source of release to the environment. Most hospitals in Canada do not treat their emissions, but rather vent the ethylene oxide used directly to the environment. To reduce emissions from the sterilization sector, Environment Canada has published Guidelines for the Reduction of Ethylene Oxide Releases from Sterilization Applications. These Guidelines recommend various methods for reducing ethylene oxide releases to the environment, such as the installation of pollution control equipment to treat releases during the sterilization cycle and during aeration. These Guidelines come into effect on January 1st, 2007.

Substance(s) Managed Under this Source


Email address:
Fax number: (819) 994-0007

Chemicals Management Division
Environment Canada
Fontaine Building
200 Sacré Coeur Blvd.
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3

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