“Tepid” is what the ANSI standard requires. That’s been (variously) described as between 65 and 100F. Some institutions require mixing valves to maintain this temperature range. I’ve always required mixing
valves on eyewash/shower installations outdoors but not indoors. Tap water is delivered right around room temperature – about 70F. Not super-comfortable for a 10 minute shower or eye wash, but certainly safer than scalding water in the eyeball!
Here’s a brief video of my colleague, Phil Maynard at UC Berkeley (who retired last week!), using an eyewash for 15 minutes – plumbed to domestic cold. He’s my hero.
Debbie M. Decker, CCHO, ACS Fellow
Past Chair, Division of Chemical Health and Safety
Councilor and Programming Co-Chair
University of California, Davis
Birkett's hypothesis: "Any chemical reaction
that proceeds smoothly under normal conditions,
can proceed violently in the presence of an idiot."
This may seem like a basic question, but I am getting some pushback from our plumbing contractors on this.
We have a brand new facility and I went through to test all of the eyewash and emergency shower stations. At first everything seemed to be working fine, but then
I noticed that the emergency eyewash water was getting warmer. I was horrified when the eyewash water became hot. I have never encountered hot eyewash water before. I had the contractors re-plumb the eyewash stations into cold tap water only. Now they
are pushing back, wanting to hook the eyewash stations back into the hot water.
I also noticed that our emergency shower is releasing hot water.
Are there any regulations surrounding eyewash and emergency shower temperatures? My understanding has always been to have cold, potable tap water running into
emergency showers and eyewashes so that chemical reactions are not accelerated upon exposure to heat. Regardless, with the temperatures that our eyewash stations were reaching, there was no way that anyone could keep their eyeballs open for 10 minutes in
this water. Any information is appreciated, especially information that will put this debate to rest.
Tyrell R. Towle, Ph.D.
MedPharm Holdings, LLC
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