Ethylene oxide to be reclassified as restricted chemical instead of being prohibited

Ethylene oxide, previously listed as a prohibited chemi­cal, will now be classified as a restricted chemical, according to the Central Leading Body for the Prevention of Hazards from Chemicals and Related Substances.


Union Minister Dr Thet Khaing Win, Vice-Chairman of the Central Leading Body, said at its meeting on 14 May that as ethylene oxide can cause dis­eases such as cancer, specific guidelines regarding its usage, quantity, and application areas must be outlined for issuing li­cences.


Ethylene oxide is a hazard­ous substance primarily used in industries such as hand washing, printing, dyeing, and as a cleaning agent in chemi­cal industries. Despite its his­torical use for sterilization, it poses significant risks due to its flammability and explosiveness, making long-distance transpor­tation challenging. American chemist Lloyd Hall patented the ethylene oxide sterilization method in 1938, and the method is still in use. — TWA/MKKS