The amounts of residual formaldehyde and paraformaldehyde present in polymeric materials after steam-formaldehyde sterilization in a commercial sterilizer were determined. Appreciable amounts of residue were detected in ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH), polyamide-6 (PA-6) and natural rubber (NR). These polymers all have a relatively low contact angle with water which indicated that the wettability of a material is an important parameter in determining amount of residue. The residue present in EVOH and in PA-6,6 filter material appeared to be toxic in the HFL-test (a screening test for acute toxicity). This indicated that a more thorough investigation into the possible toxicological consequences of the use of some steam-formaldehyde sterilized materials is necessary. © 1986.
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