The EPA has awarded a Massachusetts company nearly $400,000 to develop a monitor for low levels of a common medical device sterilant gas.
Aerodyne Research of Billerica, Mass., is working on an ethylene oxide (EtO) monitor that can detect ultra-low levels of the carcinogenic gas, according to the agency. The monitor would to help officials to assess public health risk and to detect sources of EtO emissions from commercial and industrial sites, the agency said.
EtO emissions from medtech sterilization plants have attracted national scrutiny since Illinois state officials closed the Sterigenics Willowbrook plant in February 2019.
The EPA characterized Aerodyne’s optical technology as “direct, sensitive, and specific for EtO” and said the method does not collect, preconcentrate, or require any other sample preparation. The money comes from its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.
“EPA is proud to continue to support small businesses in their efforts to protect human health and the environment,” said EPA New England acting regional administrator Deborah Szaro in a news release. “We look forward to seeing the progress Aerodyne Research will make with their innovative technology that will help to monitor air quality.”