We provide a new estimate of the effective absorption cross section of the interstellar medium at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths. The cross section for neutral helium is discussed in detail. Two spectral features of interstellar neutral helium, the 504 A ionization edge and the autoionization resonance feature at 206 A, are detectable with existing instrumentation. Measurements of the autoionization feature in continuum sources will provide a direct estimate of the intervening neutral helium column; in many cases this will be the only method to obtain this parameter. Although continuum metal opacities are negligible at wavelengths greater than 50 A we find that metal line features should be detectable in continuum sources with high signal to noise observations. A selection of some of the most prominent lines expected is provided.