Introduction to Ethylene Oxide (ETO)

Ethylene Oxide (ETO) is a colorless, flammable gas with a faintly sweet odor. It is a raw material used in diverse applications. A very hazardous substance, Ethylene Oxide is a flammable, carcinogenic, mutagenic, irritating, and anaesthetic gas at room temperature. It is critical in the production of many consumer products such as detergents, thickeners, solvents, and plastics. It is also used as a disinfectant in hospitals to replace steam in sterilization of heat-sensitive tools and equipment.

Though it has a pleasant aroma, Ethylene Oxide is toxic by inhalation. Personnel working with this toxic gas must be aware of its carcinogenic and reproductive hazards. Anyone working with Ethylene Oxide must exercise extreme caution and wear proper protective clothing.

Health Hazards

When present in high concentrations, Ethylene Oxide may produce these symptoms:

  • Eye, throat, respiratory irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Cyanosis
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Cancer

Exposure Limits

When researching ETO gas detection solutions, facility managers should be aware of the following ETO exposure limits:

Exposure Limits Agency
1 ppm TWA, 5 ppm (15 min) Excursion Level, 0.5 ppm Action Level OSHA PEL (General Industry)
1 ppm TWA, 5 ppm (15 min) Excursion Level, 0.5 ppm Action Level OSHA PEL (Construction Industry)
1 ppm TWA, 5 ppm (15 min) Excursion Level, 0.5 ppm Action Level OSHA PEL (Maritime)
1 ppm TWA ACGIH TLV
<0.1 ppm TWA, 5 ppm (10 min) ceiling NIOSH REL
800 ppm NIOSH IDLH
Group 1 carcinogenic Int’l Agency for Research on Cancer

Products for ETO Gas Detection

ETO Gas Detectors

For further product information for detecting ETO gas, contact your local Sierra Monitor sales representative.

Technology for ETO Gas Detection

Electrochemical Sensors

Electrochemical sensors are fuel cell-like devices consisting of an anode, cathode, and electrolyte. The components of the cell are selected so that a subject gas, allowed to diffuse into the cell, will cause a chemical reaction and generate a current. The cells are diffusion-limited, meaning that the rate of the gas entering the cell is solely dependent on the gas concentration. The current generated is proportional to the rate of consumption of the subject gas in the cell.

Learn more about the advantages of using Sierra Monitor's electrochemical gas sensor modules »