Handling Interferences in Ethylene Oxide Testing in Air

Air Methods, Monitoring, and Technology - Session 2
Oral Presentation

Prepared by J. Hoisington
Restek, 110 Benner Circle, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, 16823, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 814-353-1300


Ethylene oxide is used in the manufacture of a number of commercial products, as well as being used for sterilization of equipment that can’t be exposed to steam. Based on the 2014 National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) the EPA has identified ethylene oxide as a concern due to potential elevated cancer risks in some areas of the US. The analysis of ethylene oxide in air is complicated by interferences from common air contaminants such as methanol, acetaldehyde, and trans-2-butene.
This presentation shows a method for the detection of ethylene oxide using cryogenic GC to separate ethylene oxide from interfering compounds, and MS with Selected Ion Monitoring for detection at low levels. It also examines issues of background contamination when using stainless steel canisters and lines for sampling. The results of new stainless steel canisters are compared to fused silica lined canisters, and potential canister cleaning methods to reduce background ethylene oxide in stainless steel are evaluated.