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Irradiate instead of EO gas

Irradiate delicate surgical tools instead of using EO gas to sterilize them
  [vote for,

Most Surgical equipment is sterilized using steam autoclaves, but some surgical equpment is too delicate to withstand the hot steam so Ethylene oxide or EO gas is used. Problem is that EO gas is a nasty poison and it's an expnsive, slow and relatively dangerous way to sterilize equipment. Why not use irradiation the same way meat and fruit, milk and congressionall mail is sometimes iradiated to kill all the germs. It would seem to be a cheaper, safer, and faster way to sterilize delicate surgical equipment?
tedhaubrich, May 26 2004

EBeam Contract Services http://www.deviceli...tract_Services.html
[dpsyplc, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

What eBeam Offers http://www.ebeamservices.com/steriliz.htm
I'll leave it to you to look into the cost, vectors, and fomites addressed by the company. [dpsyplc, Oct 17 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       Would metals become radioctive?
bristolz, May 26 2004

       Presumably the metal ones can go in the autoclave.
DrCurry, May 26 2004

       From the Nov. 1999 issue of MMA, journal of the Minnesota Medical Association, "More than 40 facilities around the country irradiate nonfood products such as medical supplies, bottle nipples, and tampons, but most food irradiation systems are on the West Coast and in Florida. "
dpsyplc, May 26 2004

       I'm pretty sure that this is already done. At least, that's what they taught us in S-grade Physics.
Thod, May 26 2004

       One of the big problems with autoclaving is that you typically can't do it to a pre-packaged item. In many cases, EtO gas can infiltrate the package, sterilizing after all of the production touches. Irradiating also can be used for post-package sterilization. However, as many plastics break down or discolor under radiation, the costs go up to design both rad-proof product and package. Finding a plastic that handles gamma without turning into ikky black crud and also has the strength/flexibility/whatever that you want can be really hard.
Anyway, good idea, but baked - within its limitations.
lurch, May 26 2004

       [bris] - no, they would be irradiated with gamma radiation, which is just electromagnetic radiation (like radio waves, visible light, etc, but much more energetic).   

       Generally, neutron irradiation is required to make things become radioactive.
Detly, May 26 2004

       They tend to stay that way if you overdo it, or irradiate them with morons.
Zanzibar, May 26 2004

       Ok some of my questoins have been answered. I'm aware that this idea is baked in regards to disposable medical equipment like gloves and needles etc that hospitals buy from supply companies like BD etc. But I was thinking about the non-disposable siurgical equipment that is sterilized before each use at the hosptial in their sterile processing areas. Do any hospitlas irradiate any of their equipment? I know most hospitals have big autoclaves and EO gas sterilizers. Is there any plae for irradiating at the hospitals? Is it just that most equipment can't handle mulitple doses of irradiation w/o deteriorating? Cost?
tedhaubrich, Jun 02 2004

       Gamma doesn't work for a multi-use surgical item. It does nothing to remove pyrogens.
lurch, Jun 03 2004

       I dunno about that, a gamma-enhanced steam cleaning would remove or degrade all organic material. <link to service providers>
dpsyplc, Jun 03 2004

       Thanks Luch that pretty much explains away why this isn't such a good idea. They type of irradiation used to process food doesn't do anything to viruses. pyrogen or otherwise. Also I found out milk can't be irradiated, does something to taste or texture or something like that.
tedhaubrich, Jun 03 2004


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