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 8, 1985

Mr. Alfred C. Rapin
3305 Seymour Street
Ogdensburg, New York 13669

Dear Mr. Rapin:

This is in response to your recent letter, regarding the hazardous components of diesel engine emission. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

One of the components in diesel engine emissions is carbon monoxide. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard for carbon monoxide (CO) is 50 parts per million of air. The adverse health effects of exposure to carbon monoxide are asphyxiation, and anoxia.The symptoms of acute CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, collapse, coma, and death.

Diesel engine exhaust emissions also contain sulfur dioxide (SO2). OSHA's permissible exposure limit for SO2 is 5 parts SO2 per 1 million parts air. Exposure to SO2 may result in broncho-constriction, fatigue, altered sense of smell, and the symptoms of chronic bronchitis.

It is impossible to tell if your place of employment is in compliance with OSHA's permissible exposure limits for any air contaminant without taking air samples.

We encourage you to contact the OSHA area office having jurisdiction over your locality to discuss your specific concerns about diesel emissions, air quality in your workplace and adverse health effects. The address and telephone number are as follows:

[Diane Brayden
U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
3300 Vickery Rd.
North Syracuse, New York 13212
(315) 451-0808]





If we may be of further assistance regarding this matter, feel free to contact us.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Field Operations





Alfred C. Rapin
3305 Seymour St.
Ogdensburg, N.Y.

Dear Sir

I am in need of information on the exhaust emission from diesel engines. If I can't convince my union or my company that it isn't safe to breathe these fumes 8 hours a day I may lose my job after 27 years and 7 years short of retirement.

I understand that a couple of employees have went to the doctor but I see no point. After one days lose I have trouble breathing for weeks afterward. If the company & the union don't believe me I doubt if a local "pill pusher" will.

Somewhere there must be information on this but I can't find it. Any information you can give will be gratefully received.

Yours truly

Alfred C. Rapin