December 15, 2022

Additional Proposed ERPGs Available for Public Comment

The Emergency Response Planning Committee of the AIHA Guideline Foundation seeks public comments on newly proposed Emergency Response Planning Guidelines (ERPGs), which are air concentration guidelines for single exposures to agents. The committee is proposing ERPGs for the chemical phosgene. According to NIOSH, phosgene is used in many industries, including in the manufacture of other chemicals, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. Workers may be harmed from exposure to phosgene, which the agency describes as “a colorless gas with a suffocating odor like musty hay.”

The AIHA Guideline Foundation previously shared proposed ERPGs for chloroacetyl chloride, which NIOSH says is a “colorless to yellowish liquid with a strong, pungent odor.” Symptoms of exposure to chloroacetyl chloride can include irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory system; eye and skin burns; and difficulty breathing.

ERPGs comprise three values, designated as ERPG-1, ERPG-2, and ERPG-3, that indicate thresholds below which nearly all individuals could be exposed for up to one hour without experiencing certain health effects. Concentrations that exceed ERPG-3 values for longer than one hour may cause life-threatening health effects.

The AIHA Guideline Foundation’s proposed ERPGs for phosgene and chloroacetyl chloride are available as PDF downloads from the foundation’s website under the subheading “Call for Public Comments.” In addition to comments, the committee encourages individuals to share additional references or resources for consideration. The deadline for feedback about the ERPGs for chloroacetyl chloride is close of business on Jan. 31, 2023, and individuals have until close of business on Feb. 14, 2023, to submit feedback about the proposed ERPGs for phosgene.

ERPGs are intended for use as tools to assess the adequacy of accident prevention and emergency response plans, including transportation emergency planning, community emergency response plans, and incident prevention and mitigation. For more information, please email AIHA’s Michele Twilley, DrPH, CIH, or call AIHA at (703) 849-8888.