Division Title

Gas Surveillance

Select one of the links below for more information:

 

Ethylene Oxide Surveillance Program

Formaldehyde Surveillance Program

Waste Anesthetic Gas (WAG) Surveillance Program

Ethylene Oxide Surveillance Program 

In accordance with OSHA Regulation 29 CFR 1910.1047, Ethylene Oxide, the NIH has established an Ethylene Oxide (EtO) Surveillance Program. The Office of Research Services (ORS), Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS), Technical Assistance Branch (TAB) maintains the Ethylene Oxide Program. For more information contact the TAB at (301) 496-3353.
 
In healthcare and research settings, EtO is commonly used for sterilizing medical supplies and equipment. At room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure, it is a colorless gas with a characteristic ether-like odor. Ethylene oxide 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. Chronic exposure has been associated with the occurrence of cancer, reproductive effects, mutagenic changes, neurotoxicity, and sensitization.
 
Potential EtO exposures at the NIH are typically associated with using EtO sterilizers or handling materials removed from the sterilizers. There are two types of EtO gas sterilizers used at the NIH:
  1. Automatic, general purpose sterilizers that are supplied by compressed gas cylinders or single-dose cartridges, and
  2. Sterilizers that use glass ampules.
All EtO sterilization facilities at the NIH are routinely surveyed to determine if the workers that operate the sterilizers and those that work in the immediate area are exposed to excessive levels of EtO. These surveys also serve to provide documentation of surveillance activities to The Joint Commission and to the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC).
 
In evaluating employee exposures to EtO, the NIH complies with the exposure levels set by OSHA in 29 CFR 1910.1047. These are: 1.0 part per million (ppm) PEL, 5 ppm as an excursion limit and 0.5 ppm as an action level. Laboratories using EtO that have not been evaluated should contact the DOHS, TAB to schedule an evaluation.  The OSHA Fact Sheet on EtO provides valuable information about the gas, protection and employer responsibilities.
 

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Formaldehyde Surveillance Program Download Free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

In accordance with OSHA Regulation 29 CFR 1910.1048, Formaldehyde, the NIH has established a Formaldehyde Surveillance Program. The Technical Office of Research Services (ORS), Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS), Technical Assistance Branch (TAB) maintains the Formaldehyde Surveillance Program. For more information contact the TAB at (301) 496-3353.
 

A formaldehyde surveillance program has been established to:

  • Identify and quantify exposure levels of workers potentially exposed to formaldehyde
  • Provide information on the effectiveness of the controls being used to minimize exposure

This program generally applies to all occupational exposures to formaldehyde (including various formaldehyde solutions).  All NIH locations are covered by this program.

 

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Waste Anesthetic Gas (WAG) Surveillance Program Download Free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The Office of Research Services, Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) established a Waste and Anesthetic Gas (WAG) Surveillance Program at the NIH to:

  1. Identify and quantify occupational exposure levels (through surveys and site assessments) to the anesthetic gases used at the NIH 
  2. Provide information and recommendations for engineering controls and work practices that are effective in minimizing exposures to anesthetic gases
In addition, the surveys and site assessments provide documentation of surveillance activities to The Joint Commission and also to the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC).
 

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