Expiration dates on pouches

Like many items in the grocery store, many products sold by Dangerous Things have dates stamped on them. Some of these dates are processing dates, not expiration dates, and some dates are specifically called out as “expiration dates”. Lot labels, like this one, have a lot number, the processing date, and an expiration date:

Our implantable products do not expire, so what does the expiration date actually mean? Like most expiration dates, it is an educated guess as to the date at which something might become unsafe to use. In the case of our injectable devices, these products are sterilized in a standard sterilization pouch. One side of this pouch is plastic, while the other side is a permeable paper backing. This paper must be permeable so the sterilant can penetrate the pouch and do it’s job. Unfortunately it also means the sterile state of the device inside the pouch is fragile. Any handling of the paper backing could result in contamination (bacteria and viruses) to penetrate the paper and settle on or in the device.

Typically we sterilize with EO gas, and it is the defacto standard in the industry to declare paper backed pouches sterilized in EO gas have a “5 year life”. This is an average, educated guess as to how long the permeable paper can keep contamination out with minimal handling… but it is a guess at best. If a paper pouch is mishandled, made wet, or even touched by oily skin, it can contaminate the contents immediately. On the other hand, if no human hands directly touch the pouch after processing and it is placed into our kit and sealed within a thick mil polymer bag, then that “life” could conceivably increase beyond 5 years.

If you should ever received a product that has a processing date longer than 5 years ago, or has an explicit expiration date that has passed, and you wish to return for a refund, please contact us and we will accept returns on expired items without question, even on items explicitly described as “no returns or refunds”.