Medline’s facility in Waukegan produces and sterilizes more than 16,000 sterile surgical packs per day used by 80% of Illinois hospitals.
As long as EtO remains the only effective and FDA-approved method to sterilize certain critical medical supplies, we have no choice but to continue using it. A massive amount of medical equipment needs to be sterilized each year. There are many different sterilization methods, all of which are important, including EtO, hydrogen peroxide, and steam. We understand and take seriously the concerns about EtO and we only use it when there are no other FDA-approved alternatives. Doing so is not our first choice but, given today’s technology and government regulations, it can sometimes be our only choice.
In October 2019, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration expressed concern that “additional [EtO sterilization] facility closures could severely impact the supply of sterile medical devices to health care delivery organizations that depend on those devices to take care of patients.”