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CISDOC database

Document ID (ISN)55281
CIS number 91-201
ISSN - Serial title 0009-9309 - Clinical Toxicology
Year 1990
Convention or series no.
Author(s) Estrin W.J., Bowler R.M., Lash A., Becker C.E.
Title Neurotoxicological evaluation of hospital sterilizer workers exposed to ethylene oxide
Bibliographic information 1990, Vol.28, No.1, p.1-20. 28 ref.
Abstract Ethylene oxide is used to chemically sterilise heat-sensitive materials in hospitals. Neurotoxic effects of ethylene oxide have been described in animals and humans; cognitive deficits may be associated with chronic low-level ethylene oxide exposure. In this study, hospital workers with chronic ethylene oxide exposure were compared with a non-exposed control group to detect neurological and neuropsychological abnormalities. Ethylene oxide breathing zone levels of up to 250ppm in exposed subjects were reported. The exposed group had lower P300 amplitude in electroencephalographic (EEG) tests, bilaterally hypoactive distal deep tendon reflexes and poorer performance on neuropsychological tests involving psychomotor speed. Exposed subjects acknowledged more symptoms and higher levels of depression and anxiety. Nerve conduction velocities and EEG spectral analysis were similar in both exposed and control groups as were scores on most psychological tests. Thus, ethylene oxide should be considered in a differential diagnosis of neuropsychological, peripheral and central nervous system dysfunction in workplace settings associated with ethylene oxide exposure.
Descriptors (primary) disinfection of equipment; diseases of nervous system; neurological effects; hospitals; ethylene oxide
Descriptors (secondary) long-term exposure
Document type D - Periodical articles
Country / State or ProvinceUSA
Subject(s) Commerce, services, offices
Broad subject area(s) Chemical safety
Browse category(ies) Diseases of the nervous system
Ethylene oxide
Health care services