EO is Back. And it’s here to stay.

When All Else Fails

hospitals are switching to the reliability of EO sterilization
From Mayo Clinic to UPMC to UCLA, today’s hospitals are finding that traditional sterilization methods are often ineffective — even lethal — and are returning to EO sterilization, effectively putting an end to nosocomial outbreaks.

Why is EO still the gold standard for low temperature sterilization?

Over 75,000 patients will die this year in the U.S. from nosocomial infections (Source: CDC historical data). In the era of CRE and other superbugs, the sterilization landscape has changed forever. The FDA has stepped in to bring EO sterilization back to the forefront. Notably, they now recommend EO for endoscopy sterilization.

Hospitals are recognizing that EO is currently the only low temperature sterilant that succeeds at eradicating hospital associated infection outbreaks and reverting to EO, in particular in regards to endoscopy.

The HAI (Hospital Acquired Infection) Landscape

HAI Deaths in the U.S. between 2003-2014. Data source: Reuters’ State Health Department Survey, Sept 7, 2016.

HAI Reuters 2017

Although not all HAI deaths are avoidable using an EO sterilization system, they can certainly be substantially reduced, as recent history proves.

Reuters highlights that, contrary to what the available CDC data suggests, the overall incidence of HAI deaths over the 2003-2014 span have nearly doubled. We are seeing unprecedented levels of HAI infection, often underreported.

EO Sterilization: A Timeline


EO insecticidal use gaining popularity (Source)


Registered with EPA as antimicrobial pesticide; early use of EO in hospitals (Source)

Used as sterilant by military (Source)


Dr. Charles Rush Phillips research spearheads EO’s use to sterilize delicate instruments. The McDonald process was patented for medical devices. (Source)


OSHA sets EO exposure limits (Source)


EO/CFC ban rumors. (Source)


75% of hospitals using EO to sterilize devices (Source)

Alternatives gain popularity due to ban rumors. (Source)

100% EO (Andersen) has never had a ban proposal (Source)


Outbreak at 2 hospitals in Highland County, Florida – As many as 70 exposed, 22 dead; legitimate issues with reprocessing (Source)


Additional outbreaks with hundreds infected and dozens killed (Source)


LA Times runs expose uncovering CRE outbreak at UCLA – 8 infected, 3 dead, 179 patients exposed (Source)

FDA releases safety warnings about the use of duodenoscopes (Source)

FDA convenes panel of experts to consult on whether current reprocessing standards are adequate. Their conclusion is no. (Source)

FDA recommends the use of EO for duodenoscope reprocessing. (Source)

World’s first FDA registration for flexible chamber EO sterilizer (Source)


Renewed cleaning efforts for scopes not enough, triggering the search of most efficient methods by leading hospitals. (Source)

After everything has been said and done, EO remains the gold standard of low temperature sterilization — even as the story continues to unfold.

Scroll to Top