The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has implemented national emissions standards for ethylene oxide sterilizers, which are used by hospitals to sterilize medical devices.

Contained in a final rule effective Dec. 28, 2007, the standards generally require hospital ethylene oxide sterilization facilities to sterilize full loads of items to reduce hazardous emissions.

Exceptions include when a central services staff member, a hospital administrator or physician on duty determines that a less than full load is medically necessary or the sterilizer has an acceptable air-pollution-control device.

To review the final rule, visit the American Hospital Association web site.