Huntington Beach, California, April 21, 2023
Last month, the State of California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) announced that Cal/OSHA had issued 18 citations, including six citations for willful-serious violations, to a contract sterilization company in Los Angeles County for failing to protect its employees from overexposure to ethylene oxide (EtO). DIR reports that a willful violation is issued when evidence shows that the employer committed an intentional and knowing violation.
According to the DIR announcement:
Chronic exposure to ethylene oxide is associated with cancer, reproductive effects and neurotoxicity. Its odor is undetectable to humans until the concentration exceeds hazardous levels.
Ethylene oxide is an organic compound that is produced in large quantities. It is primarily used as an intermediate in the production of several industrial chemicals, the most notable of which is ethylene glycol. It is both flammable and highly reactive. EtO is also used as a fumigant in certain agricultural products and as a sterilant for medical equipment and supplies. In 1987, the state of California designated ethylene oxide as known to cause cancer under Proposition 65. In 2009, that listing was expanded to include reproductive toxicity.
“Penalties in this case, totaling over $838,000, are certainly going to get the attention of companies in California that utilize ethylene oxide,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “At LA Testing, our industrial hygiene and environmental laboratories are available to help businesses comply with health and safety regulations to protect workers, communities and the environment from exposure to EtO and a wide range of other industrial chemicals. We offer laboratory testing services, sampling supplies and even personal protective equipment.”
Several years ago, LA Testing sponsored an educational video about ethylene oxide and occupational exposure concerns that can still be seen at: https://youtu.be/_-B8MFnk-ZQ
To learn more about ethylene oxide or other environmental and industrial hygiene testing services, please visit www.LATesting.com, email info@LATesting.com or call (800) 755-1794.
About LA Testing
LA Testing is California’s leading laboratory for industrial hygiene and indoor air quality testing of asbestos, mold, lead, VOCs, formaldehyde, soot, char, ash and smoke damage, particulates and other chemicals. In addition, LA Testing offers a full range of air sampling and investigative equipment to professionals and the general public. LA Testing maintains an extensive list of accreditations including: AIHA LAP LLC., AIHA ELLAP, AIHA EMLAP and AIHA IHLAP, CDC ELITE, NVLAP, State of California, State of Hawaii Department of Health and other states. LA Testing, along with the EMSL Analytical, Inc. network, has multiple laboratories throughout California including South Pasadena, Huntington Beach, San Leandro and San Diego.