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Case Study Database

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Spohn Hospital

Year Submitted: 2003

Process: Sterilization

Industry: Medical Facility

Wastes Reduced: VOC Emissions

Substance: CFC's, EtO

Equipment: Hydrogen Peroxide

Location: Corpus Christi TX

No. of employees: 1500

Contact: Patty Hernandez

Phone: (512) 881-3956


The hospital identified the operating room instrument sterilization system as an improvement opportunity to replace hazardous substances with environmentally friendly substitutes. The previous process used a 12-88 mixture of ethylene oxide (EtO) and chloro-fluorocarbon (CFC) to sterilize heat and moisture sensitive surgical instruments. Adverse health effects can result from exposure to EtO vapor or liquid. EtO is classified as a carcinogenic. CFC has been found to destroy the atmospheric ozone and the Federal Government has programmed elimination of its production.

P2 Application:

Alternate methods were investigated and a hydrogen peroxide system was selected as the best method of providing safe surgical instrument sterilization. This system uses hydrogen peroxide in a gas plasma state to fuel the sterilization process. The environmentally safe by-products from the systems completed processing cycles are water vapor and oxygen.

Environmental Benefits:

The environmental benefit is the elimination of 480lbs. of ethylene oxide and 3520lbs. of chloro-fluorocarbon emission annually. Employees benefit from reduced exposure to a carcinogenic substance.

Details of Reductions

Additional Information :

Although there is a minimal reduction in operating costs, considerable benefits are realized from the elimination of training, alarm systems, badge readings, and other administrative requirements associated with EtO monitoring. Both the worker and the environment are major winners from this change.

Source: TCEQ

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