Identifying Occupational Exposure Risks to Ethylene Oxide and Other Airborne Hazards in Puerto Rico
Zimmetry Environmental provides testing and consulting services to identify ethylene oxide and other inhalation hazards throughout the Caribbean.
Bayamon, Puerto Rico -- Ethylene oxide (EtO) is an organic compound that is produced in large volumes. It is primarily used as an intermediate in the production of several industrial chemicals, the most notable of which is ethylene glycol. However, it is also used as a fumigant in various agricultural products and to sterilize moisture and heat sensitive medical equipment and supplies.
According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), EtO possesses several physical and health hazards that merit special attention. It is both flammable and highly reactive. 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 these facts, OSHA has developed a Fact Sheet to help educate workers and employers about exposure hazards associated with ethylene oxide. The document states that employers should train and communicate information to affected workers, utilize engineering controls and work practices to control exposures, provide personal protective equipment, and take other health and safety measures.
“There is an OSHA EtO standard that requires employers to conduct personal monitoring,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “At Zimmetry we offer testing and monitoring services for ethylene oxide and other chemical compounds that can be an exposure hazard and are very often regulated. These compliance, health and safety services are available throughout Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.”