Medline’s Safe and Critical Use of Ethylene Oxide
By Medline Newsroom Staff | November 13, 2018
Medline cares deeply about the health and safety of our employees and the communities where we live and work. We produce, package and distribute a variety of critical medical supplies, including sterile surgical packs that contain all of the disposable items necessary for a wide range of procedures – from tonsillectomies, C-sections and knee replacements to liver transplants and open-heart surgeries.
Current safety practices for the use of ethylene oxide (EO) have been rigorously examined and proven safe in many scientific studies for decades. EO sterilization is an industry-standard, FDA-recognized process that currently is the only way to sterilize many critical medical products—specifically, complex devices that have connectors or materials that are not compatible with any other method of sterilization.
Any disruption of EO sterilization facilities would cause a near-immediate public health crisis. Illinois hospitals would lose access to sterilized medical packs needed for life-saving surgeries. The enormous disruption in the supply chain would put catastrophic impact on Illinois’ hospital system.
We have listened to recent concerns about EO sterilization, which stem predominantly from the 2016 EPA staff Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) report, which the scientific community has strongly criticized as inconsistent with overwhelming evidence and widely accepted research supporting the safe use of EO. Given these criticisms, we believe that additional thoughtful deliberation and scientific review is necessary.
We look forward to continuing conversations with community members and elected officials regarding our shared commitment to public health.
The following resources provide additional information about EO sterilization, Medline’s commitment to safe operations, the critical role that EO plays in the health care system, and the serious criticisms that the scientific community has leveled against the 2016 EPA IRIS report:
- Medline Statement Calling for National Academy of Sciences Review of Errant EPA Data (Nov. 13, 2018)
- Facts about Ethylene Oxide, Medical Sterilization and Medline
- Testimony by Dr. M. Jane Teta regarding the findings of ethylene oxide worker studies and how and why these findings are inconsistent with the U.S. EPA 2016 IRIS cancer risk estimate. Delivered before the Illinois House Environment Committee (Nov. 13, 2018) and the Illinois Senate Environment and Conservation Committee (Nov. 14, 2018).
- Testimony by Mr. Robert Reich the critical role of EO usage in the medical industry and the irreplaceable nature of EO in medical product sterilization. Filed with the Illinois House Environment Committee (Nov. 13, 2018) and the Illinois Senate Environment and Conservation Committee (Nov. 14, 2018).