The FDA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have issued a public health notice about the "danger of fires at the interface of oxygen regulators and cylinder valves because of incorrect use of CGA 870 seals." The notice also provides information on precautions to be taken to avoid such fires.
The agency said it had received "12 reports in which regulators used with oxygen cylinders have burned or exploded, in some cases injuring personnel." The agency further noted that some of the incidents occurred during emergency medical use or routine equipment checks.
The two agencies contend "improper use of gaskets/washers in these regulators was a major factor in both the ignition and severity of the fires," although they note there were likely "other contributing factors" in the reported incidents.
To view the notice, go to http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/safety/042406-o2fires.pdf (http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/safety/042406-o2fires.pdf).