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Article
October 2, 1987

Carcinogenicity of Ethylene Oxide

Author Affiliations

Balchem Corporation Slatehill, NY

Balchem Corporation Slatehill, NY

JAMA. 1987;258(13):1733. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400130047025
Abstract

To the Editor.—  Whether the conclusion of Hertz-Picciotto et al1 that ethylene oxide is a human carcinogen is correct or not does not change the realities of life.With the worker exposure law of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in effect for well over one year, workers are currently exposed to no more than 1.0 ppm of ethylene oxide during their eight-hour workday. At the maximum exposure level, this equates to a 0.24-ppm exposure to ethylene oxide for a full seven-day week. This level is well below the effect level derived from any study, whether conducted on animals or humans. The recent data showing the toxic effects of exposure to ethylene oxide at higher levels are interesting scientific information, but do not relate to the real world of exposure to 1.0 ppm for eight hours.The continued flow of such negative information tends to make organizations and individuals

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