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OSHA’s proposed silica regulation: Let the public hearings begin!

Over the next three weeks, more than 200 individuals are scheduled to testify at OSHA’s public hearing on its proposed silica regulation. Unlike other regulatory agencies, OSHA’s rulemaking hearings are overseen by an administrative law judge. Those who testify can cross-examine and be cross-examined by other witnesses and agency officials.

“For us it’s personal,” said Jeannie Economos, Farmworker Association of Florida Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator. “It’s a daily issue for us. Every day with a weaker protection standard is another day a worker is exposed to pesticides,” she said. On February 20th the EPA proposed revisions to its Worker Protection Standard for agricultural pesticides. Farm worker advocates are welcoming the proposal – the first update since 1992 – but see both improvements and what some are calling “steps backward.”

In a first-of-its-kind study, a researcher has estimated that the health-related economic savings of removing bisphenol A from our food supply is a whopping $1.74 billion annually. And that’s a conservative estimate.

It’s probably my earliest public health memory — the image of Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and his grandfatherly beard on the television warning my elementary school self about the dangers of smoking. He was the first doctor I knew by name.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Fast-food workers walk off their jobs and demand higher wages; workers from a Niagara Falls Goodyear plant have a bladder cancer rate nearly three times that of the general New York state population; and increased pork-plant production comes with more reports of worker injuries.

At least 1.7 million US workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica each year, this according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These exposures occur in a variety of industries, among them construction, sandblasting, mining, masonry,  stone and quarry work, and in the rapidly expanding method of oil and gas extraction…

Thou dost protest too much. Let the disclosure chips fall where they may

The worlds of Georgia-Pacific, asbestos-litigation, scientific journals, and OSHA all fell together last week under the umbrella of transparency and disclosure.

On October 17, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that it has classified air pollution as a human carcinogen. Although the composition of air pollution and exposure levels vary widely from place to place, IARC says its assessment is applicable worldwide and notes that exposures in rapidly industrializing countries…

Turning new page for transparency in worker safety rulemaking

For the first time in OSHA’s rulemaking history, the agency is requesting that those submitting studies, reports and analysis on its proposed silica standard disclose potential conflicts of interest.

Where is the Labor Dept’s proposal to protect mine workers from respirable silica?

The Labor Department took the first major step this month to protect the health of many U.S. workers who are exposed to respirable crystalline silica. Workers in the mining industry, however, are not addressed by the Department’s action.