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.
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.
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.