Long-term ethylene oxide exposure trends in US hospitals: relationship with OSHA regulatory and enforcement actions.
LaMontagne-AD; Oakes-JM; Lopez-Turley-RN
Am J Publ Health 2004 Sep; 94(9):1614-1619
OBJECTIVES: We assessed long-term trends in ethylene oxide (EtO) worker exposures for the purposes of exposure surveillance and evaluation of the impacts of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 1984 and 1988 EtO standards. METHODS: We obtained exposure data from a large commercial vendor and processor of EtO passive dosimeters. Personal samples (87,582 workshift [8-hr] and 46,097 short-term [15-min] samples) from 2265 US hospitals were analyzed for time trends from 1984 through 2001 and compared with OSHA enforcement data. RESULTS: Exposures declined steadily for the first several years after the OSHA standards were set. Workshift exposures continued to taper off and have remained low and constant through 2001. However, since 1996, the probability of exceeding the short-term excursion limit has increased. This trend coincides with a decline in enforcement of the EtO standard. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicate the need for renewed intervention efforts to preserve gains made following the passage and implementation of the 1984 and 1988 EtO standards.
Ethylenes; Oxides; Occupational-exposure; Work-environment; Workers; Exposure-levels; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis
Anthony D. La-Montagne, Centre for the Study of Health and Society, Department of Public Health, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
Research Tools and Approaches; Intervention Effectiveness Research
American Journal of Public Health
Harvard University, School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts