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 ProPublica’s analysis of emissions data found that between 2014 and 2018 ethylene oxide was the single biggest contributor to excess industrial cancer risk from air pollutants nationwide. Ava Kofman, ProPublica, 16 Apr. 2024 The American Lung Association called the rule an important step forward to protect human health from cancer caused by ethylene oxide emissions. Matthew Daly, Quartz, 14 Mar. 2024 Once implemented and combined with another EPA rule issued last month restricting ethylene oxide emissions from commercial sterilization facilities, the new rule will reduce ethylene oxide and chloroprene emissions by nearly 80%, according to the agency. USA TODAY, 10 Apr. 2024 The new rule for chemical manufacturers comes just weeks after EPA finalized new tougher rules for facilities that use ethylene oxide gas to sterilize medical equipment, spices and other items. Brenda Goodman, CNN, 9 Apr. 2024 More than 20 billion devices are sterilized with ethylene oxide—about 50% of devices that need sterilization. Korin Miller, Verywell Health, 2 Feb. 2024 Prior regulations on commercial sterilizers that use ethylene oxide did not account for the EPA’s latest research. Alejandra Martinez, ProPublica, 15 Mar. 2024 In 2016 — two years after the EPA reviewed the standards — the agency determined that ethylene oxide’s cancer risk was nearly 60 times greater than previously thought. Sarah Elbeshbishi, ProPublica, 20 Sep. 2023 These controls can measure ethylene oxide in indoor air down to 10 parts per billion. Brenda Goodman, CNN, 11 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ethylene oxide.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1866, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ethylene oxide was in 1866

Dictionary Entries Near ethylene oxide

Cite this Entry

“Ethylene oxide.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition

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

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