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Plastic / Rubber - Swelling

Type of Surface Change

  • Swollen, softened, sticky surfaces of plastic, rubber or latex products.
  • Thin-walled parts can split open or burst.

Origin & Causes        

  • Penetration of gases or liquids into the surface. Swelling can be reversible and temporary if due to the impact of volatile spray solvents or propellants. The same symptom can also occur if rubber or certain plastics come into contact with gaseous anesthetics.
  • However, irreversible swelling can be caused by contact with oils (paraffin oil), vaseline and unsuitable disinfectants (e.g. phenol derivatives).
  • Silicone rubber shows a reversible reaction to spray propellants and gaseous anesthetics, but irreversible damage is caused by silicone oils and solvents.

Treatment Recommendations

None (correction impossible).

Preventive Measures        

Avoid contact/exposure, depending on material.

Risk Assessment        

Depending on degree of swelling, stop using affected instruments if existing surface changes are application- and/or risk-relevant.