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Sterilization and Disinfection of Patient-Care Items in Oral Healthcare Settings

Course Number: 474

Unsaturated Chemical-Vapor Sterilization

Unsaturated chemical-vapor sterilization involves heating a chemical solution, primarily alcohol with 0.23% formaldehyde, in a closed pressurized chamber. This method causes less corrosion of carbon steel instruments (e.g., dental burs) than steam sterilization because less water is present during the cycle. However, instruments must be dry before sterilizing; and federal, state and local authorities must be consulted for hazardous waste disposal requirements of the solution.2,3