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EtO Use in Lateral Flow Tests Deemed Safe

EtO is safe to use in lateral flow testing

Recent misinformation has been spreading around EtO use in lateral flow tests. The misleading information was believed to be first broadcast on a Facebook live video. On the video broadcast, it was falsely proclaimed that ethylene oxide sterilised swabs cause cancer. However several investigations, studies and regulatory bodies have proven this misleading information to be false and confirmed EtO sterilisation is safe.

What is EtO sterilisation?

Ethylene Oxide (EtO) sterilisation is a low-temperature gaseous procedure. It is the most popular method of sterilisation around the world for single-use medical devices. EtO sterilisation is carried out by exposing devices to EtO in a sealed chamber where the gas eliminates viable microorganisms. The process involves three main stages: preconditioning, sterilisation, and aeration.

Is EtO harmful?

Many studies have concluded that there is no evidence to suggest that EtO sterilised products will have negative health impacts. The National Cancer Institute states it is only large and continuous exposure to the gas which causes health detriments. However, in the UK, there are limits to how much people can be exposed to by law which in turn keeps individuals safe. The DHSC has stated that it is a highly controlled and safe sterilisation process that can be used regularly.

How is EtO used in lateral flow testing?

Minimal amounts of the gas are used to sterilise the swabs used for testing. This is so they do not contain viable microorganisms that can harm the individual using the swab test kits. The BBC has also conducted an investigation into this matter and has found that ‘test swabs don’t contain cancer-causing chemical’. EtO use in lateral flow tests poses no harm to individuals taking a covid-19 test.

At Andersen Caledonia, we offer specialist ethylene oxide sterilisation services at our accredited facilities for your products and devices. We also offer human testing of which swab kits are supplied and analysed by our UKAS certified laboratory. Contact us at: customersupport@andersencaledonia.co.uk to get a quote or to find out how we can help your business.



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