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Ethylene oxide


Source: HBL

 Context: The European Commission has classified ethylene oxide as carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction (previously it was classified as a fumigant)


Significance: Agricultural products being exported to European Union will now be mandatorily tested.

Ethylene oxide:

At room temperature, ethylene oxide is a flammable colourless gas with a sweet odour.  It is used primarily to produce other chemicals, including antifreeze. In smaller amounts, ethylene oxide is used as a pesticide and a sterilizing agent. The ability of ethylene oxide to damage DNA makes it an effective sterilizing agent but also accounts for its cancer-causing activity.