OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

November 13, 1984

Mr. John S. Fenerty
Materials Management
Chestnut Hill Hospital
8835 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19118-2767

Dear Mr. Fenerty:

Mr. Patrick Tyson has asked me to respond to your letter of October 29, concerning respiratory protection from ethylene oxide.

The required respirators for protection against the ethylene oxide (EtO) are prescribed in Table 1 of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ethylene oxide standard, Federal Register, June 22, 1984, p. 25798 (enclosed). With the exception of the canisters, all other respirators such as the positive-pressure supplied air respirators and positive-pressure self-contained breathing apparatus are available at many safety equipment suppliers. I do not believe that you will have any difficulty in locating a supplier in Philadelphia. However the Testing and Certification Branch (TCB) of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has prepared a list of respiratory manufacturers and you may wish to contact them at the following address for further information:

Ms. Nancy Bollinger, Chief
Testing and Certification Branch
944 Chestnut Ridge Road
Morgantown, West Virginia 26505

Use of respirators must be in accordance with the requirements set forth in the EtO standard as well as the OSHA standard on respiratory protection, 29 CFR 1910.134. A copy is enclosed for your reference.


Edward J. Baier
Directorate of Technical Support


Oct 29, 1984

Mr. Patrick R. Tyson
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor
for Occupational Safety and Health
200 Constitution Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Mr. Tyson,

I would like your help and assistance on the following:

PUBLICATION: Federal Register Volume 49 No. 122
DATE : Friday June 22, 1984
SUBJECT : Rules and Regulations 29 CFR Part 1910 Ethylene Oxide
REFERENCE : Page 25797 Column 3 (2) Respirator Selection (ii) The employer shall select respirators from among those jointly approved as being accep- table for protection against ETO by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) under provisions of 30 CFR Part II.

I have been unable to locate any vendors or manufacturers of safety equipment that presently manufacture or are aware of respirators that protect against, or deter inhalation of ethylene oxide.

Would you please supply me with any literature you may have on this type respirator. If you have the names of respirator manufacturers supplying this necessary equipment, I would appreciate that list also.

Thank you very much.

Very Truly Yours,

John S. Fenerty
Director, Materials Management
Chestnut Hill Hospital
8835 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118-2767