Ethylene oxide (EO, Oxiran, CAS Nr.: 75-21-8) has been used in the past for fumigation (an insecticide), especially in the storage and transport of grain, seeds and nuts. It has also been used together with a higher amount of carbon dioxide under the brand names of Cartox and T-Gas for fumigation in silos, warehouses and containers.
Because of the strong EO toxicity and of the high toxicity of its accompanying component (2-chloroethanol, 2-CE, CAS Nr.: 107-07-3), its use with foodstuffs and raw materials for foodstuffs is forbidden .
According to the latest RASF reports, sesame and products containing sesame such as sesame bagels, breads and crackers have been withdrawn from the market because of the unpermitted use of ethylene oxide.
The only permitted use of ethylene oxide is for sterilization of synthetic materials and diverse medical products because it has a toxic effect on the cells of microorganisms like viruses, bacteria and fungi.
In 2012 ethylene oxide was included in the rolling action plan of the group (CoRAP) in keeping with the regulation (EG) No. 1907/2006 (REACH) for material evaluation [2, 3].
PiCA Prüfinstitut Chemische Analytik GmbH has for many years analyzed free ethylene oxide in different matrices such as foodstuffs, synthetic materials and many other products. Our method (Headspace-GC-MS) is accredited.
The residue definition of ethylene oxide as a pesticides contains both ethylene oxide and 2-chloroethanol: Ethylene oxide (summing up ethylene oxide and 2-chloroethanol) is expressed as ethylene oxide .
That’s why we developed the second method for 2-chloroethanol (GC-MS/MS after extraction), which now allows to calculate the highest amount of ethylene oxide residues in keeping with Regulation (EG) No. 396/2005 of the European Parlament and Council and determine the total, summed up value.
Both highly sensitive and very fast methods are fully validated with the low LOQs (0.02 mg/kg each) and can be offered with express service.
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 Max Daunderer: Handbuch der Umweltgifte. Verlagsgruppe Hüthig Jehle Rehm, Ausgabe 6/2006.
 Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 February 2005 on maximum residue levels of pesticides in or on food and feed of plant and animal origin and amending Council Directive 91/414/EECText with EEA relevance.
Update für Ethylenoxid: Reg. (EU) 2015/868 Applicable from: 30/12/2015