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.

August 31, 1989

Patrick R. Tyson, Esquire
Constangy, Brooks and Smith
Suite 2400
230 Peachtree Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-1557

Dear Mr. Tyson:

This is in response to your letter of August 1, in which you requested an interpretation on the issue of whether labels and material safety data sheets (MSDS) must be provided to downstream manufacturers and processors for orlon or orlon blend yarns.

As you know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200, requires all shipped containers of hazardous chemicals to be labeled with the following information: the identity of the hazardous chemical(s); appropriate hazard warnings; and the name and address of the chemical manufacturer, importer or other responsible party. In addition, chemical manufacturers and importers must obtain or develop a MSDS for each hazardous chemical they produce or import. One of the areas which must be addressed on the MSDS is whether the hazardous chemical is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen, or is listed in the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Annual Report on Carcinogens, or has been found to be a potential carcinogen in the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs.

You specifically requested an interpretation on whether the potential cancer hazards of dimethylformamide (DMF) and acrylonitrile (AN) would have to be addressed on the labels and MSDS for orlon and orlon blend yarns sent to downstream manufacturers or processors. In reviewing the MSDS and additional information forwarded with your inquiry on "orlon" products from Dupont, it appears that there is a potential for exposure to AN and DMF under their normal conditions of use in downstream processing operations. Since DMF is an IARC listed group 2B carcinogen, that health hazard information must be reflected on the MSDS. In addition, if there is a valid scientific study indicating positive human evidence of carcinogenicity, then the label must contain hazard warning(s) on carcinogenicity. It should also be noted that the chemical manufacturer is free to report any negative findings as well, as long as the positive findings by IARC are included.

AN is regulated by OSHA as a carcinogen in a substance-specific standard at 29 CFR 1910.1045. That standard contains its own labeling requirements. However, to the extent that 1910.1045(p) applies in this situation, the labeling requirement of that substance specific standard addresses only carcinogenicity and does not require the reporting of other hazards, such as acute or chronic health effects or potential physical hazards.

I hope that this information answers your concerns with regard to this matter. If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me again.


Thomas J. Shepich, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs