ethylene oxide

noun

Definition of ethylene oxide

: a colorless flammable toxic compound C2H4O used especially in synthesis (as of ethylene glycol) and in sterilization and fumigation

Examples of ethylene oxide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Sterigenics has known of ethylene oxide’s carcinogenic effects since at least 1984, one of the complaints alleges. Morgan Greene, chicagotribune.com, "Hundreds more lawsuits filed over ethylene oxide emissions at Sterigenics plant in Willowbrook," 21 Aug. 2020 Medline and other companies use ethylene oxide, also known as EtO, to sterilize medical products. Michael Hawthorne, chicagotribune.com, "Higher levels of cancer-causing ethylene oxide found in people living near Medline in Waukegan, CDC study shows," 5 Dec. 2019 But community activists say any additional exposure to ethylene oxide increases their cumulative risk of developing cancer. Michael Hawthorne, chicagotribune.com, "Higher levels of cancer-causing ethylene oxide found in people living near Medline in Waukegan, CDC study shows," 5 Dec. 2019 But nationwide, more than 100 sterilizing plants still use ethylene oxide. CBS News, "Emissions from an Illinois sterilization plant gave high school teachers cancer, lawsuit claims," 27 Dec. 2019 Davis has even exposed it to ethylene oxide, a poisonous gas used to sterilize laboratory equipment, with no discernible effects. Steve Nadis, Science | AAAS, "Hardy microbe’s DNA could be a time capsule for the ages," 18 Feb. 2020 Environmental and local opposition to Sunshine has largely centered on its emissions of toxic pollutants, which include benzene, ethylene oxide and other cancer-causing gases. Benjamin Storrow, Scientific American, "Plastics Plants Are Poised to Be the Next Big Carbon Superpolluters," 24 Jan. 2020 The same is true for the section of St. Charles Parish near the Union Carbide plant, a major emitter of ethylene oxide. ProPublica, "Welcome to “Cancer Alley,” Where Toxic Air Is About to Get Worse," 30 Oct. 2012 Some talked about the chemicals the company was proposing to emit, including ethylene oxide, a substance that a 2016 Environmental Protection Agency study concluded can cause cancer even with limited exposure. Lylla Younes, ProPublica, "What Could Happen if a $9.4 Billion Chemical Plant Comes to “Cancer Alley”," 18 Nov. 2012

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ethylene oxide.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ethylene oxide

1866, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of ethylene oxide was in 1866

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Cite this Entry

“Ethylene oxide.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethylene%20oxide. Accessed 31 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for ethylene oxide

ethylene oxide

noun

Medical Definition of ethylene oxide

: a colorless flammable toxic gaseous or liquid compound C2H4O used especially in synthesis (as of ethylene glycol) and in fumigation and sterilization (as of medical instruments)

More from Merriam-Webster on ethylene oxide

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ethylene oxide

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