BEWARE OF CARCINOGEN'S IN ASRs!
| Although exposures to a number of well-recognized occupational carcinogens
have been reduced or eliminated in recent years, many law enforcement professionals continue to be unnecessarily exposed to known or suspected
cancer-causing agents through the use of Methylene Chloride in Aerosol Subject Restraints (ASRs).
The National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) has identified Methylene Chloride (synonyms – Dichloromethane, Methylene Dichloride), as a potential occupational carcinogen (Table III-1, Group 2B). On December 29, 1970, the U.S. Congress passed the Occupational Safety & Health Act in order to assure safe and healthful working conditions for employees by:
¡ Authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act.
¡ Assisting and encouraging the states in their efforts to assure safe
and healthful working conditions.
¡ Providing for research, information, education, and training in the
field of occupational health.
|Section 5 of the Act (Public Law 91-595, 91st Congress, S2193)
entitled DUTIES, requires that employers shall:
|A) Furnish to each employee a place employment, which is
free from recognized
hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious injury.
B) Comply with Occupational Safety and Health
Standards promulgated under the Act.
|Your Obligations As An Employer|
|Agencies that choose to use an ASR, which contains known or suspected
occupational carcinogens, are required to comply with the Hazard Communication Act. This Act requires that employers must communicate to employees that they are being exposed to chemicals that may cause cancer
in humans. OSHA regulation 29 CFR 1910.1200 sets forth the guidelines and
is intended to address comprehensively the issue of evaluating the potential
hazards of chemicals, and communicating information concerning hazards and appropriate protective measures to employees. This is to be accomplished
by means of comprehensive hazard communication programs, which include container labeling, material safety data sheets (MSDS), and employee
| A) Establish a record of each employee’s past
B) Establish a determination level for each employee’s past exposure to
Methylene Chloride. (Determination levels must be made in accordance with 29
CFR 1910.1052(d)(1)(i)(a) or 29 CFR 1910.1052(d)(1)(i)(b).)
C) Provide training to each "exposed" employee in accordance with 29 CFR
D) Initiate provisions to shield other employees from contact with Methylene
Chloride in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.1052(h).
Facts About Methylene Chloride
¡ The World Health Organization (WHO) has
determined that Methylene Chloride may
cause cancer in humans.
¡ The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that
Methylene Chloride can be reasonably anticipated to be a cancer-causing chemical.
¡ The EPA has determined that Methylene Chloride is a probable cancer-causing
agent in humans.
¡ The most likely way to be exposed to Methylene Chloride is inhalation or contact
with or absorption through the skin.
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