The American Society of Safety Engineers has alerted its 33,000 members about potentially deadly cylinders of class D breathing air often used when working in a confined space. In March, a fatal incident in Channelview, Texas, that involved two painters wearing sandblast hoods connected to compressed air cylinders was investigated by OSHA.

OSHA's preliminary tests found that the cylinders had a low level of oxygen. As a result, OSHA and the Houston-based manufacturer of the cylinders, Aeriform, are requesting that any and all air cylinders marked "compressed air -- breathing" that were purchased within the last three months be tested for oxygen content prior to being used.

According to OSHA, any potential cylinders, although purchased and currently only found in Texas, could be anywhere in the country and should be checked for an oxygen level of 19 to 23 percent by volume. The cylinders were part of lot number C860-2-00-39RS, which consisted of three clusters of 12 cylinders that were filled at Aeriform on February 8, 2000. Stenciled at the bottom frame of the clustered cylinders are either the numbers 9063 or 9065.

If a cylinder is located, OSHA is urging people to contact Aeriform at (713) 926-3166.