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.

May 8, 2000

Mr. Ken Martin, CIH
Vice President, Training
NITON Corporation
900 Middlesex Turnpike, Building 8
Billerica, MA 01821-3926

Dear Mr. Martin:

Thank you for your letter of October 1, 1999 regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's letter of interpretation, Using X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) for Analysis of Lead in Paint and Applicability of Other Agencies Lead Levels. We would like to take this opportunity to clarify our interpretation of 29 CFR 1926.62, paragraph (d), as set forth in our letter of
March 1, 1999 to Mr. Hsin Chou, Panacea Environmental Services, Buena Park, California.

OSHA recognizes that Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) find XRF analyzers acceptable for analyzing lead in paint at their clearance level of 1.0 mg/cm2. We also recognize that some instruments can measure accurately at substantially lower levels. However, please be aware that while XRF analyzers may be an acceptable method of analysis for meeting HUD/EPA requirements, OSHA's concerns are different from those of HUD and EPA.

OSHA's mission is to provide a safe and healthful working environment for American workers. To accomplish this task in the area of lead, we rely primarily on airborne measurements to determine employee exposure. OSHA does not consider any method that relies solely on the analysis of bulk materials or surface content of lead (or other toxic material) to be acceptable for safely predicting employee exposure to airborne contaminants. Without air monitoring results or without the benefit of historical or objective data (including air sampling which clearly demonstrates that the employee can not be exposed above the action level during any process, operation, or activity) the analysis of bulk or surface samples can not be used to determine employee airborne exposure. Therefore, the interpretation described in the March 1, 1999 letter is correct.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope this provides the clarification you were seeking and apologize for any confusion the earlier documents may have caused. Please be aware that the enforcement guidance contained in this response represents the views of OSHA at the time the letter was written based on the facts of an individual case, question, or scenario and is also subject to periodic review and clarification, amplification, or correction. In the future, should you wish to verify that the guidance herein remains current or access the referenced information, you may consult OSHA's website at
http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the [Office of Health Enforcement at 202-693-2190].



Richard E. Fairfax, Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

[Corrected 6/2/2005]