Issue Date: June 4, 2007
EPA Raises Ethylene Oxide Concerns
Current workplace exposure limits for ethylene oxide, used for sterilizing or fumigating, may not be protective enough, according to EPA. "Cancer risks are of concern" at the current limits set by OSHA and recommended by the National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health, EPA said in a Federal Register notice on May 30. In addition, EPA said risk of noncancer health effects is "of concern" at OSHA's permissible exposure limit for ethylene oxide of 1 ppm as an eight-hour time-weighted average (TWA) but not at NIOSH's recommended exposure limit of 0.1 ppm TWA. EPA conducted occupational exposure assessments as part of its revised risk assessment for ethylene oxide and will use the data as it considers the eligibility of the chemical for pesticide re-registration. EPA is seeking input on ways to protect workers from ethylene oxide exposure.
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