What to Do After Being Exposed to Ethylene Oxide

Ethylene oxide (EtO) is a colorless, sweet-smelling gas most commonly used as a sterilizing agent for medical equipment and other machinery. The gas is also used to make a product commonly used in antifreeze and polyester known as ethylene glycol.

You or a loved one might be at risk of exposure if you live near or work at a plant that produces EtO solvents, antifreeze, textiles, detergents, adhesives, and/or polyurethane foam. You might also be exposed if you live near or work at a place where you regularly control insects in grain bins or sterilize medical equipment and supplies. If you have been exposed to and have had experienced side effects of EtO exposure, skilled injury attorneys at our firm have provided information regarding next steps.

What Side Effects Come From Exposure to EtO?

Short-term exposure to ethylene oxide may result in lung injury or irritation, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or cyanosis. In addition, splash exposure from liquid EtO can injure the cornea of the eye, and dermal exposure can lead to chemical burns and other forms of skin irritation.

Exposure from ingesting the gas can produce gastrointestinal distress and vomiting. Long-term exposure may result in reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, loss of control of bodily movements, mutagenic changes, seizures, and cancer.

Immediate Steps to Take After Exposure

Before you arrive at a health care facility, there are actions you should take immediately after a short-term exposure to ethylene oxide. For example, ocular exposure should be addressed by flushing out the eyes with water. Similarly, you should immediately treat dermal exposure by removing and washing contaminated clothing. However, if EtO liquid is on the skin, allow it to vaporize before washing.

Get Medical Treatment as Soon as Possible

If you or a loved one were exposed to ethylene oxide, contact your doctor immediately. It is also imperative to keep detailed medical and billing records. In the event that the exposure brings lifelong health effects, having adequate records could better your chances of a successful claim.

Contact an Experienced Injury Attorney for Assistance

If you or a loved one lives or works in Covington or Smyrna, Georgia, and were later diagnosed with cancer or have other debilitating symptoms from EtO exposure, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Reach out to discuss your options with a skilled injury attorney today. Our team is standing by and is ready to assist you.