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Category Press Release
Publish Date 5/2/2018
Author Paul Cochrane
Title California Workers Learn of Ethylene Oxide Exposure Risks and How to Test for It
Introduction LA Testing provides analytical services and sampling supplies to identify potentially hazardous chemical compounds to protect workers and the public.

Huntington Beach, CA, May 2nd, 2018

Ethylene oxide (EtO) 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.

Back in 1987, the state of California designated the ethylene oxide as known to cause cancer under Proposition 65. In 2009, that listed was expanded to include reproductive toxicity. Proposition 65, also known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products they purchase, in their homes or workplaces, or that are released into the environment. 

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), EtO possesses several physical and health hazards that merit special attention. The agency states that acute exposures to EtO gas may result in respiratory irritation and lung injury, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath and cyanosis. Both human and animal studies show that EtO is a carcinogen that may cause leukemia and other cancers. EtO is also linked to spontaneous abortion, genetic damage, nerve damage, peripheral paralysis, muscle weakness, as well as impaired thinking and memory.

“Due to the hazardous nature of exposure to ethylene oxide, employers should train and communicate health and safety information to affected workers, utilize engineering controls and work practices to control exposures, provide personal protective equipment, and take other appropriate protective measures,” said Michael Chapman, Laboratory Manager at LA Testing’s Huntington Beach facility. “OSHA’s EtO standard requires employers to conduct personal monitoring unless they are specifically exempt. At LA Testing, we offer ethylene oxide testing services in our industrial hygiene laboratory along with all of the sampling supplies and equipment that are necessary to comply with these regulations.”

LA Testing also recently sponsored an educational video about ethylene oxide and occupational exposure concerns that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/Gq6dk5yzky8.

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 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.

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