Ethylene oxide in connection with lateral flow tests

Molly Kingsley made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education.

Dear Department for Education,

This request is in relation to the use of the Innova lateral flow test (the “LFT”) being used across schools in the UK.

We are in receipt of correspondence from Innova confirming that the swab used in the LFTs is sterilised by ethylene oxide. Given the known toxicity and potential carcinogenicity of ethylene oxide, we are concerned by this.

Under the ‘Freedom of Information Act 2000’, we request disclosure of the following:

– information as to what, if any, independent tests have been carried out to check for any residues of ethylene oxide on a random sample of swabs;
– information as to what, if any, assessments have been conducted to ensure that the invasive use of these swabs for children is safe?

I understand that, under the Act, I am entitled to a response within 20 working days of your receipt of this request.
Some parts of the request may be easier to answer than others. Should this be the case, I request that you release information as soon as possible as it becomes available. If my request is denied in whole, or in part, I ask that you justify all decisions to deny disclosure by reference to specific exemptions of the Act.

I will expect you to disclose all non-exempt material that is within the scope of this request. I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees.
I would prefer to receive the information electronically at the email address submitted to you as part of this request.

Yours faithfully

Molly Kingsley,