Outgassing Safety

  • Posted on: 3 March 2016
  • By: REVOX Steriliza...

While REVOX® Sterilization’s room-temperature vaporized peracetic acid (VPA) process saves manufacturers time and money, the most important goal of sterilization is always ensuring safety. If you’re producing biologics, pharmaceuticals, implantables, or other medical equipment, you must eradicate biological contaminants that could spread an infection. With REVOX, you can be confident of a safer sterilization process.

The Production Challenges of EO Sterilization

One of the most common chemical sterilants used in industrial applications is ethylene oxide (EO), a colorless, flammable gas. In general, EO is quite effective at destroying infectious microbes, but one of its primary disadvantages is that it may leave behind harmful chemical residuals, which requires medical manufacturers to devote precious processing time for outgassing before products can be delivered to the client.

Certain types of plastic and biological materials are known to absorb EO residuals, and typically items sterilized using this technique must be quarantined afterwards and aerated for an extra day or two in order to ensure that all of the chemical byproducts have dissipated. The extra lead-time needed to outgas costs companies money in delayed shipments, extra production handling, and fewer inventory turns. All these factors directly affect production efficiency.

VPA Sterilization Is a Safer Alternative

In contrast to EO, VPA breaks down into harmless natural components: water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. “VPA doesn’t have all the adverse effects of chemicals that go into the ETO process and that are a concern later on,” says Bruce Stoltzfus, Vice President of Operations at the MEDIVATORS Conroe, Texas, facility, which is in the process of converting to an on-site REVOX sterilization process from contract EO services.

Having an on-site, room-temperature system allows MEDIVATORS to sterilize items in less time and with greater efficiency. But Stoltzfus points out the other benefit: the lower safety risk REVOX offers his manufacturing team. “Using VPA means that dangerous carcinogenic fumes do not adversely affect other employees or customers. Another benefit of the REVOX process is that it’s more environmentally friendly,” he says.

By adopting the REVOX sterilization system, MEDIVATORS plans on leading the way in production safety and efficiency. “We have 100 percent confidence in REVOX,” Stoltzfus says. “We know that the process is going to add value back to our business, and also add value for our customers.”