EtO is Back. And it's here to stay.

From Mayo Clinic to UPMC to UCLA, today’s hospitals are finding that traditional sterilization methods are often ineffective --even lethal, and are reverting to EtO sterilization, effectively putting an end to nosocomial outbreaks.

Why is EtO still the gold standard for low temperature sterilization?

The Superbug Era

Over 75,000 patients will die this year in the U.S. from nosocomial infections (Source: CDC historical data). In the era of CRE and other superbugs, the sterilization landscape has changed forever.  The FDA has stepped in to bring EtO sterilization back to the forefront. Notably, they now recommend EtO for endoscopy sterilization.


Hospitals are recognizing that EtO is currently the only low temperature sterilization sterilant that succeeds at erradicating hospital associated infection outbreaks and reverting to EtO, in particular in regards to endoscopy.




The new HAI (Hospital Acquired Infection) landscape

HAI Deaths in the U.S. between 2003-2014

Data source: Reuters' State Health Department Survey, Sept 7 2016


Although not all HAI deaths are avoidable using an EtO sterilization system, they can certainly be substantially reduced, as recent history proves.


Reuters highlights that, contrary to what the available CDC data suggests, the overall incidence of HAI deaths over the 2003-2014 span have nearly doubled. We are seeing unprecedented levels of HAI infection, often underreported.

EtO sterilization: a timeline

1930s 1940s 1950s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2008 2012 2015 2017

EtO insecticidal use gaining popularity (Source)




Registered with EPA as antimicrobial pesticide; early use of EtO in hospitals (Source)


Used as sterilant by military (Source)


Dr. Charles Rush Phillips research spearheads EtO's use to sterilize delicate instruments. The McDonald process was patented for medical devices. (Source)






OSHA sets EtO exposure limits (Source)




EO/CFC ban rumors. (Source)




75% of hospital using EtO to sterilize devices (Source)


Alternatives gain popularity due to ban rumors. (Source)


100% EtO (Andersen) has never had a ban proposal (Source)



Outbreak at 2 hospitals in Highland County, Florida - As many as 70 exposed, 22 dead; legitimate issues with reprocessing (Source)



Additional outbreaks with hundreds infected and dozens killed (Source)




LA Times runs expose uncovering CRE outbreak at UCLA - 8 infected, 3 dead, 179 patients exposed (Source)


FDA releases safety warnings about the use of duodenoscopes (Source)


FDA convenes panel of experts to consult on whether current reprocessing standards are adequate. Their conclusion is no. (Source)


FDA recommends the use of EtO for duodenoscope reprocessing. (Source)


World's first FDA registration for flexible chamber EtO sterilizer (Source)





Renewed cleaning efforts for scopes not enough, triggering the search of most efficient methods by leading hospitals. (Source)






After everything has been said and done, EtO's remains the golden standard of low temperature sterilization seems imminent.  The story is still unfolding.

Evolving story

Mayo Clinic Adopts EtO for Scope Reprocessing


New York Times  | By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.FEB. 27, 2017


The World Health Organization warned on Monday that a dozen antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” pose an enormous threat to human health, and urged hospital infection-control experts and pharmaceutical researchers to focus on fighting the most dangerous pathogens first ...


Read More

Jury orders Olympus to pay $6.6 million but rejects claims its medical scopes are unsafe


L.A. Times  | By Chad Terhune and JoNel Aleccia,  JULY 25, 2017


A jury ordered giant medical scope maker Olympus Corp. to pay a Seattle hospital $6.6 million in damages tied to a deadly superbug outbreak, and told the hospital to pay $1 million to a deceased patient’s family.


Read More






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