Healthcare/Biosafety

COVID-19 Tests Sterilized with Ethylene Oxide Do Not Cause Cancer

1 April, 2021

On March 25,  the former host of the program “Dasabamidan Sasupevlamde”  (From Origin to Death) Davit Giorgobiani published a video on Facebook depicting a man speaking in English, the video also has Russian subtitles. The man in the video shows us the coronavirus antigen test kit and says that these tests are sterilized with ethylene oxide. The aforesaid substances cause cancer and other diseases. According to the man in the video, swab sticks are sprayed with ethylene oxide to sterilize them, in the process of taking a smear, these swab sticks reach the brain, which means that people are killed intentionally.

;

On March 25, Facebook profile ბიბლიის მორწმუნე ქრისტიანები (Bible Believing Christians) published another video about ethylene oxide depicting a man repeating the claims voiced in the previous video and saying that coronavirus antigen tests are coated with ethylene oxide when this substance causes cancer and DNA damage.

Report alleging that coronavirus antigen tests sterilized with ethylene oxide cause cancer is disinformation. Although ethylene oxide is a carcinogen, it has been widely used for many years to sterilize medical equipment. The process is under rigorous control for the residual ethylene oxide gas on the sterilized object to be within safety norms.
Moreover, in the process of taking a smear for coronavirus test, the swab stick doesn’t reach the brain and therefore, doesn’t damage its membrane.

The information mentioned in the post about ethylene oxide being cancerogenic is true. It’s also the truth that ethylene oxide is used to sterilize medical equipment and tools. However, the claim alleging that antigen tests sterilized with ethylene oxide can cause cancer or other diseases is disinformation.

Ethylene oxide has been used to sterilize medical equipment and tools since 1950. Approximately 50% of medical inventory are sterilized with this method and 20 billion medical equipment sold in the U.S. annually are sterilized with ethylene oxide.

One of the videos notes that antigen tests are sprayed with ethylene oxide and that’s how they are sterilized, while the second video mentions that the tests are coated in ethylene oxide. Both versions of ethylene oxide sterilization are false since ethylene oxide is a gas compound and cannot be sprayed on tests. As Reuters writes, it's also false to say that tests are coated in ethylene oxide because in the sterilization process, removal of the gas from the product in question is ensured and possible residue on the sterilized object is below international standards.

The U.K Department for Health and Social Care in a statement to Reuters noted that COVID-19 diagnostic tests have been rigorously tested and are safe for regular use.

In the video published by Davit Giorgobiani, the man says that coronavirus test swab sticks sterilized with ethylene oxide reach the brain, which means that people are killed intentionally. In reality, in the process of taking a smear, swabs don’t reach the human brain nor can they damage the membrane. It's practically impossible for the swab sticks to damage the brain because it has to damage the blood-brain barrier (cerebral membrane and blood vessel barrier), which is protected by multiple layers of tissue, blood vessels, and bones. That’s why swab stick damaging it is possible only theoretically.
Read more on this topic:
Is the coronavirus test dangerous?

How is medical inventory sterilized with ethylene oxide?

Medline Industries published a video on the Youtube channel depicting the process of sterilization with ethylene oxide. Video explains that medical inventory is first brought into the sterilization chamber and then through several vacuum cycles the air is removed, afterward nitrogen and steam are pumped in, and finally, ethylene oxide is injected into the chamber, which remains there approximately for 10-12 hours until the inventory is fully sterilized. After the sterilization process is complete, the majority of ethylene oxide is removed from the inventory through several vacuum cycles and pushing and pulling of nitrogen. Lastly, by adding water and sulfuric acid, ethylene oxide is transformed into ethylene glycol, which is used as antifreeze. 

;

;

;

;

In the video, it’s noted that after the medical inventory sterilization process is complete, less than 1% of all ethylene oxide used in the process is left.


Prepared by Mariam Talakhadze


Archive links:
Bible Believing Christians
Shorena Khvedelidze
Spiritual world
Gocha Chumashvili
Davit Giorgobiani


The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

Read detailed instructions for editing the article.
Read detailed appeal instructions.