Toxic Exposures

Ethylene Oxide

Fighting for victims of ethylene oxide exposure. Call us for a free consultation.


At Gianaris Trial Lawyers, we are actively investigating cases involving exposure to ethylene oxide (EtO) and are committed to representing victims nationwide.

Ethylene oxide is a critical component in the production of other industrial chemicals such as ethylene glycol. It is also used as a fumigant in agricultural products and to sterilize medical instruments and other equipment. However, it is crucial to understand that ethylene oxide poses significant physical and health risks.

Acute occupational exposures to ethylene oxide may result in respiratory irritation, lung injury, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, and cyanosis. More chronic exposure has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, mutagenic changes, and neurotoxicity.

Sterigenics, an Illinois-based company specializing in medical device sterilization, has come under legal scrutiny due to its use of ethylene oxide. The company has been subjected to over 700 lawsuits, with a recent ruling requiring them to pay $363 million to a cancer survivor who blamed her illness on the company’s decades-long emission of the toxic chemical. If you or a loved one has been affected by the actions of Sterigenics or similar companies, Gianaris Trial Lawyers is prepared to advocate for your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.

FAQs about Ethylene Oxide Exposure

What is Ethylene Oxide?
Ethylene oxide is a flammable, colorless gas with a sweet odor at room temperature. It is predominantly used to produce chemicals like antifreeze, or it can be used as a pesticide and sterilizing agent.

How are People Exposed to Ethylene Oxide?
People can be exposed to ethylene oxide primarily through inhalation and ingestion. This exposure might occur in an occupational, consumer, or environmental setting. Even with employer safeguards, employees and individuals who live near industrial facilities that use ethylene oxide may be exposed through uncontrolled industrial emissions.

What Health Effects are Associated with Ethylene Oxide Exposure?
Exposure to ethylene oxide can lead to symptoms such as headaches, upset stomach, trouble breathing, fatigue, and reproductive problems. Chronic exposure has been associated with cancer, reproductive effects, mutagenic changes, and neurotoxicity.

What Cancers are Linked to Ethylene Oxide Exposure?
Occupational exposure to ethylene oxide has been reportedly linked to lymphoma, stomach cancer, leukemia, and breast cancer.

What Legal Recourse is Available for Victims of Ethylene Oxide Exposure?
Victims of ethylene oxide may file a toxic tort or toxic exposure case, which is a specific type of personal injury lawsuit resulting from exposure to toxic materials or chemicals. Many people discover their past exposure after being diagnosed with a type of cancer associated with the toxic material. Employers may be held liable for any injury to a worker due to failure to protect them from serious health and safety risks.

Side Effects of Ethylene Oxide Exposure:

Chronic Exposure: Long-term exposure to ethylene oxide has been associated with increased risks of cancers, including breast cancer and blood cancers like non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma, and lymphocytic leukemia.

Reproductive and Developmental Effects: Ethylene oxide can cause harmful reproductive effects, including spontaneous abortions, genetic damage, and impaired fertility.

Points of Exposure:

Occupational Exposure: Workers in industries using ethylene oxide are at the highest risk of exposure. These occupations include plant workers involved in the production of ethylene oxide and those who use it to sterilize medical equipment and agricultural products.

Environmental Exposure: Individuals living near industrial facilities that use or manufacture ethylene oxide may be exposed to this chemical through air pollution.

Healthcare Exposure: Hospital staff and patients may be exposed to ethylene oxide used to sterilize medical equipment and supplies.

Consumer Exposure:  Ethylene oxide is also used to sterilize several consumer products, including cosmetics and toiletries, leading to potential exposure.

Facing health issues from harmful substances like ethylene oxide is tough. At Gianaris Trial Lawyers, we are here to help. If you think you or a loved one might have been exposed to this chemical, reach out to us. We’ll guide you through your legal options in clear, simple terms, and fight hard for fair compensation for you. Your first consultation with us is free and confidential. You’re not alone in this, we’re here to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

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    Frequently Asked Questions

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    What is a personal injury case?

    A personal injury case is a legal dispute that arises when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else might be legally responsible for that harm. Personal injury cases typically involve injuries to the body, mind or emotions, and not property. Examples include car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, toxic exposures and more.

    If you have been injured by someone or a company's negligence or wrongful actions, you may have a personal injury case. It is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the strength of your case and your legal options.

    The value of a personal injury case can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the severity of the injury, the amount of medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine the potential value of your case. It is critical to speak with an experienced attorney to maximize the value of your case.

    The length of time it takes to settle a personal injury case can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the complexity of the case, the availability of insurance coverage, and the willingness of the parties to negotiate a settlement. Some cases may be resolved in a matter of months, while others may take longer. The harder your attorney works on the case, the more likely it settles quickly.

    Negligence is the failure to exercise the degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would use in similar circumstances. To prove negligence in a personal injury case, your attorney must show that the defendant did something that a reasonably careful person would not do, and that it caused a physical injury.