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OSHA Hazard Information Bulletins
Errors in Occupational Health Services, Inc. (OHS) Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on Respirator Use Information


July 13, 1987

MEMORANDUM FOR:

REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS

THRU:

  • LEO CAREY
  • Director
  • Directorate of Field Operations

FROM:

  • EDWARD BAIER
  • Director
  • Directorate of Technical Support

SUBJECT:

  • Health Hazard Bulletin: Errors in the Occupational Health Services, Inc. (OHS) Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) on Respirator Use Information

We received numerous requests for information on toxic substances. While casually reviewing the protective equipment sections of OHS MSDS on microfiche, errors were found in the recommendations for the selection of respirators.

Examples of typical errors shown in the attached copies are forwarded for your information. We are only covering the respirator section and not other sections of the MSDS. Please note the information on the following MSDS:

  1. Potassium Hydroxide - CAS Number 1310-58-3. OHS recommends the use of a chemical cartridge respirator with an organic vapor cartridge(s). Also, OHS recommends the use of a gas mask with an organic vapor canister. Potassium Hydroxide is not an organic chemical. Exposure ranges of potassium hydroxide for specific respirator use are not given.
  2. Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate - CAS Number 7758-16-9. OHS recommends the use of a chemical cartridge respirator with an organic vapor cartridge(s) without giving exposure ranges for specific respirator use. Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate is not an organic chemical.
  3. Sodium Carbonate - CAS Number 497-19-8. OHS recommends the use of a Type "C" supplied-air respirator with a full face-piece operated in pressure-demand, and also does not give Sodium Carbonate exposure ranges for specific respirator use. Because Sodium Carbonate is a low toxicity substance, a supplied air respirator is not needed at low exposure levels.
  4. Hydrogen Chloride, Anhydrous - CAS Number 7647-01-1. OSH recommends, for concentrations up to 50 ppm, the use of any chemical cartridge respirator with cartridge(s) providing protection against the compound of concern. We feel that the recommendation should be more specific and recommend the use of an acid gas cartridge rather than a cartridge(s) providing protection against the compound of concern.

In view of the above, when forwarding an MSDS prepared by OHS in replying to inquiries, a disclaimer should be included stating that OSHA does not attest to its accuracy. An effort should be made to make note of errors in the MSDS and provide corrected information.

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