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 15, 1991


                       REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR


SUBJECT:                Your Request for Interpretation Regarding Used 
                       Tire Recyclers

This is in response to your memorandum of May 10, which requested an interpretation regarding the applicability of the requirements of the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to the rubber dust byproduct sold by a tire recapping company, the Frank Fargo Tire and Rubber Co., Inc., in Los Angeles. I apologize for the long delay of this response.

The company produces for sale as scrap reclaimed tire tread rubber (rubber dust) from buffing the tread area of a worn tire to texture the surface for recapping. The suppliers to this company are providing them with articles they did not manufacture - worn or used tires - and therefore are not responsible for providing a material safety data sheet to the tire recapping company. The current compliance directive, CPL 2-2.38D, on page A-29, discusses the applicability of the standard to scrap dealers. It states: "If their (the scrap dealers) suppliers are furnishing articles which they did not manufacture, (such as a broken refrigerator), the supplier i1s not required to provide a label or MSDSs."

The guidance given in the current HCS compliance instruction supersedes the 1986 letter of interpretation which was written prior to the expansion of the rule to cover all employers. CPL 2-2.38D states that when a scrap supplier has "the required knowledge of the item's constituents" he is to develop and transmit MSDSs and labels to downstream employers. In this case, the tire recapping company is provided with items or articles (used tires) which are transmitted to them with neither an MSDS nor a label. They therefore would not have the required knowledge of the items' constituents from which to produce an MSDS.

However, the tire recapping company is selling a product which it has produced - the rubber dust. Since no testing of chemicals to determine their hazards is specifically required by the HCS, it would then be incumbent upon the company to perform a literature search for any available studies that may have been performed on rubber dust which show a health hazard to be associated with occupational exposures. Absent any such information, the need to develop and transmit an MSDS and label for the rubber dust is negated. When and if the downstream user of the rubber dust requests a data sheet from the supplier, the tire recapper may want to prepare a statement such as is found on page A-28 of the HCS directive to communicate to his customers that an evaluation has been performed on the product in accordance with the HCS and the product is not considered to be a hazardous chemical nor to contain hazardous chemicals.

I hope this has been responsive to your request for clarification of this issue. Please feel free to contact Melody Sands of my staff (FTS 523-8036) if you have any further questions.