How A Chemical Used To Sterilize Medical Equipment Became A Study In The Failure Of Silo-ed Bureaucracies
Ethylene oxide is crucial in the process of sterilizing medical equipment, but because it's known to cause cancer there's been a major push to close plants that use it. Either way, Americans' lives are at stake, and experts wonder if the FDA and the EPA could have come up with a solution had they simply talked earlier.
How The FDA And EPA’s Failure To Communicate Could Put Patients In Danger
For decades a chemical used to sterilize medical devices and surgery tools has been the only option to ensure safe devices for billions of critical health care procedures. But the chemical, ethylene oxide, has been shown to cause cancer, and growing panic among people living near plants that sterilize medical devices has led to a major crackdown and the shutdown of the factories in several states. (Karlin-Smith, Snider and Owermohle, 11/7)
EPA Data Shows Widespread Cancer Risk From Ethylene Oxide
New data released by EPA Wednesday indicate that Americans across the country have been exposed to levels of a cancer-causing gas that, over a lifetime, would put their risk of cancer far higher than what EPA deems acceptable. In effect, residents of communities from Phoenix to Seattle to rural Kentucky may be experiencing a 1 in 1,000 risk of developing breast cancer, leukemia and other cancers, according to new data that measured concentrations of the gas ethylene oxide at 18 sites across the country. (Snider, 11/6)