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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 16. Control of Hazardous Substances
Article 110. Regulated Carcinogens
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§5214. Inorganic Arsenic, Appendix A

Inorganic Arsenic Substance Information Sheet


A. Substance. Inorganic Arsenic.

B. Definition. Copper acetoarsenite, arsenic and all inorganic compounds containing arsenic except arsine, measured as arsenic (As).

C. Permissible Exposure Limit. 0.01 milligrams per cubic meter of air (same as 10 micrograms per cubic meter of air) as determined as an average over an 8-hour period. No employee may be exposed to any skin or eye contact with arsenic trichloride or to skin or eye contact likely to cause skin or eye irritation.

D. Action Level. 0.005 milligrams per cubic meter of air (same as 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air) determined as an average over an 8-hour period.

E. Regulated Areas. Only employees authorized by your employer should enter a regulated area.


A. Comments. The health hazard of inorganic arsenic is high.

B. Ways In Which Inorganic Arsenic Affects Your Body. Exposure to airborne inorganic arsenic may cause lung cancer, and it can be a skin irritant. Inorganic arsenic may also affect your body if swallowed. One compound in particular, arsenic trichloride, is especially dangerous because it is highly corrosive and it can be absorbed readily through the skin. Because inorganic arsenic is a poison, you should wash your hands thoroughly prior to eating or smoking.


A. Respirators. Respirators will be provided by your employer at no cost to you for routine use if your employer is in the process of implementing engineering and work practice controls or where engineering and work practice controls are not feasible or insufficient. You must wear respirators for non-routine activities or in emergency situations where you are likely to be exposed to levels of inorganic arsenic in excess of the permissible exposure limit. Since how well your respirator fits your face is very important, your employer is required to conduct fit tests to make sure the respirator seals properly when you wear it. These tests are simple and rapid and will be explained to you during training sessions.

B. Protective clothing. If you work in a regulated area, your employer is required to provide at no cost to you, and you must wear, appropriate, clean, protective clothing and equipment. The purpose of this equipment is to prevent you from bringing to your home arsenic-contaminated dust and to protect your body from repeated skin contact with inorganic arsenic likely to cause skin irritation. This clothing should include such items as coveralls or similar full-body clothing, gloves, shoes or coverlets, and aprons. Protective equipment should include face shields or vented goggles where eye injury may occur.


You must not eat, drink, smoke, chew gum or tobacco, or apply cosmetics in the regulated area, except that drinking water is permitted. If you work in a regulated area your employer is required to provide lunch rooms and other areas for these purposes.

If you work in a regulated area, your employer is required to provide showers, washing facilities, and change rooms. You must wash your face and hands before eating and must shower at the end of the work shift. Do not take used protective clothing out of change rooms without your employer's permission. Your employer is required to provide for laundering or cleaning of your protective clothing.


Your employer is required to post warning signs and labels for your protection. Signs must be posted in regulated areas. The signs must warn that a cancer hazard is present, that only authorized employees may enter the area, and that no smoking or eating is allowed, and that respirators must be worn.


If your exposure to arsenic is over the action level at least 30 days per year, or your have been exposed to arsenic for more than 10 years over the action level, your employer is required to provide you with a medical examination. The examination shall be every 6 months for employees over 45 years old or with more than 10 years exposure over the action level and annually for other covered employees. The initial medical examination must include a medical history; a chest X-ray; skin examination; nasal examination and sputum cytology examination for the early detection of lung cancer. In subsequent medical examinations, the chest X-ray is not required unless recommended by the physician. The cytology exams are only included in the initial examination and examinations given after you are either 45 years or older or have 10 or more years employment over the action level. The examining physician will provide a written opinion to your employer interpreting the results of the medical exams. You should also receive a copy of this opinion. The physician must not tell your employer any conditions he or she detects unrelated to occupational exposure to arsenic but must tell you those conditions.


Your employer is required to monitor your exposure to arsenic and you or your representatives are entitled to observe the monitoring procedure. You are entitled to receive an explanation of the measurement procedure, and to record the results obtained. When the monitoring procedure is taking place in an area where respirators or personal protective clothing and equipment are required to be worn, you must also be provided with and must wear the protective clothing and equipment.


You or your representative are entitled to records of your exposure to inorganic arsenic upon request to your employer. Your medical examination records can be furnished to you, your physician, or any other individual or organization that you designate if you request your employer to provide them.


Additional information on all of these items plus training as to hazards of exposure to inorganic arsenic and the engineering and work practice controls associated with your job will also be provided by your employer. If you are exposed over the permissible exposure limit, your employer must inform you of that fact and the actions he or she is taking to reduce your exposures.

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