What’s New with Ethylene Oxide: Update from ITRC and EPA

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Detecting Ethylene Oxide (EtO) To 0.040 ppbv is now possible in ambient air with SGS’s evacuated canister method.

The EPA identified ethylene oxide (EtO) as a potential carcinogen at low concentration. Our clients asked us to develop a procedure to analyze EtO samples using evacuated canisters at the extremely low levels required for ambient air analysis. In response, we pioneered a way to neutralize trans-butene interference to make ultra-low detection of EtO possible and accurate down to 0.040 ppbv using our evacuated canister method by EPA TO-15 SIM.


The limits of quantitation for the canisters are 0.040 parts per billion from evacuated 6L canisters or 0.20 ppbv LOQ from evacuated mini cans. Sampling times range from 15 minutes to seven days, depending on the canister used. The 450ml canisters can also be used for personal sampling.

SGS Galson EtO Limits of Quantification:
6L Canister          0.04 ppbv
Mini can 0.20 ppbv


When analyzing real-world EtO samples, we observed that a chromatographic interferent was present quite often. This was consistent with the EPA, which noted in late 2018 that under certain conditions, there could be a coelution of EtO with trans-2-butene.

We are dedicated to routine method evaluation while supporting continual improvement and innovation in all aspects of the analytical process. To this end, we developed an improved method that resolves the coelution issue.

By changing the analytical column used for EtO analysis, along with changes of some other analytical parameters, we can remove the coelution of EtO and trans-2-butene and obtain a 3-minute separation between the two compounds. This separation results in reporting sound and unbiased results to be used to make critical decisions.

Comprehensive Services

We excel at routine method evaluation and are committed to continual improvement and innovation, exemplified by our improved method for overcoming coelution of ethylene oxide with trans-2-butene. As you receive inquiries about ethylene oxide analysis, we’ll make sure you’re ready to respond quickly and effectively by familiarizing you with our unsurpassed EtO methods and services:

  • Our canisters are FREE unless returned unused. If returned unused, there is a $50 per can/regulator set cleaning fee.
  • We also provide passive samplers and a pump and tube method, using our FreePumpLoan program for occupational applications or simple screening methods with higher LOQs.

SGS offers industry-leading analytical services at multiple laboratories across North America, for air, water, soil, and hazardous waste; industrial hygiene analysis of over 450 analytes; asbestos, lead, mold analysis and more for the built environment; and ultratrace analysis of persistent organic pollutants and contaminants of concern. SGS uses technological innovation to provide state-of-art solutions to our clients such as continuous cloud remote monitoring, qPCR analysis and more.


If you have questions on ethylene oxide analysis or to order, contact our award-winning client service representatives in many ways:

Ethylene Oxide Sampling & Analysis Quote Request

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