Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2005 16:09:03 -0600
Reply-To: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: Ethylene Oxide use in a research lab?
Comments: To: Bob Peck


I sent an earlier message directly to Mr. John Benedik at UWYo since my 
daughter is a student there and we live about 65 miles away.  I would 
like to emphasize Mr. Bob Peck's remarks.

Since the researcher only wants to store about 500 ml and only use about 
15 ml of ethylene oxide (CAS 75-21-8) at a time for what seems like a 
short-term project, the actual real-life human health hazard/risk would 
very likely be minimal, especially if operations are correctly carried 
out in a functioning laboratory hood and proper PPE, etc. are used.  
HOWEVER, the regulatory issues may far outweigh the actual human health 
hazards/risks and should seriously be considered, as Mr. Peck correctly 
and astutely points out.

The first question I would then ask is:  "What are the possibilities for 
product process substitution in this instance?"  Indeed, could the 
chemical product that is desired to be synthesized be actually bought 
and delivered from a commercial or other laboratory source?  Does this 
operation HAVE to be carried out at UWYo, or could an acceptable 
substitute or the actual chemical product be acquired elsewhere? (and 
let THEM worry about the regulatory issues, which could be significant). 
 And anyone who relies solely on an MSDS for health hazard/risk and 
safety information should be forewarned and take full advantage of other 
freely available information sources, such as those from the Specialized 
Information Services of the US National Library of Medicine: (look under Toxicology and 
Environmental Health, amongst others -- I actually recently suggested 
this to the head of health and safety for an advanced university school 
for artists -- who use from time to time some incredibly dangerous 
materials -- in Toronto  who also gave me some information resources I 
was not aware of -- we can all learn from each other).

Alan H. Hall, M.D.
President and Chief Medical Toxicologist
Toxicology Consulting and Medical Translating Services, Inc. (TCMTS, 
Elk Mountain, WY
Clinical Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Denver, CO
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Bob Peck 
  To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU 
  Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 7:26 PM
  Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Ethylene Oxide use in a research lab?

  Ethylene oxide has been used in everything from a chemical processes 
  a building block, to use as a very effective sterilizing agent in
  hospitals and pharmaceutical manufacturing.  It is an OSHA regulated
  carcinogen, like benzene and vinyl chloride.  See 29CFR Part1910.1047,
  which is a very detailed and potentially onerous set of requirements.
  Anyone intending to use EtO should thoroughly read and understand 
  requirements.  The only exempt operations are "processing, use or
  handling of products containing EtO where objective data" ... which 
  not release EtO into the air above the excursion limit (5 PPM average
  airborne exposure for any 15 minute period).  The Permissible Exposure
  Limit for 8 hours is 1 PPM - TWA.

  Most industry uses of EtO have gone away.  There is no laboratory
  exemption in this standard!  Don't fall into the, "We are a 
  trap in relaxing the standards of professional practice with this
  material.  Simple reliance on any MSDS without understanding the
  regulatory and health ramifications of a research compound is very
  dangerous and imprudent.

  Hope this helps.

  Bob Peck

  -----Original Message-----
  From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf 
  Jay Young
  Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2005 1:48 PM
  To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
  Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Ethylene Oxide use in a research lab?

  For all such question as this, I suggest reading labels and MSDSs.
  both reading, and understanding, the label and the MSDS, you will then
  know the precautions to be incorporated into your use and handling of

  If you find the MDSD difficult to understand, or believe it to be
  inadequate, then raise a bit of H___ with the supplier of the chemical
  until you are informed of what you find  to be missing in the MSDS

  Jay Young

  On Mon, 24 Oct 2005 16:32:47 -0600 John Benedik 
  > Good afternoon Group,
  > I have a researcher who wishes to use ethylene oxide in a lab, to
  > synthesis a compound.  We need to purchase 500ml of ethylene oxide.  

  > His
  > planned synthesis will be using 15ml at a time to synthesize this
  > compound.
  > My questions for the group:
  > 1)     Is anyone allowing the use of this material?
  > 2)     What safety precautions or procedures are you having your
  > researches use?
  > 3)     What regulatory hoops do we have to jump through if any for 
  > this
  > material?
  > You may send a response to my e-mail below!
  > Thanks for any help.
  > John B
  > John E. Benedik Jr.
  > Chemical Safety Specialist
  > Environmental Health & Safety
  > University of Wyoming
  > Dept. 3413
  > 1000 E. University Ave.
  > Laramie, Wyoming 82071
  > Phone: (307) 766-2649
  > Fax: (307 766-5678
  > E-mail: jbenedik**At_Symbol_Here**

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