[Federal Register: May 5, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 86)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
29 CFR Part 1910
Docket No. OSHA-2007-0024]
Notice of Availability of the Regulatory Flexibility Act Review
of the Methylene Chloride Standard
AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Labor.
ACTION: Availability of completed regulatory review.
SUMMARY: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has
completed a review of the Methylene Chloride (MC) Standard (29 CFR
1910.1052) pursuant to section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act
and section 5 of Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and
Review. The purpose of this review was to determine whether the MC
Standard has functioned as intended, whether it could be simplified or
improved to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses, or
whether it is no longer needed and should be rescinded.
DATES: As of May 5, 2010 the report is available to the public, (see
ADDRESSES section to obtain copies).
ADDRESSES: Copies of the entire report may be obtained from the OSHA
Publications Office, Room N-3101, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW.,
Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-1888; fax (202) 693-2498. All
documents and comments received relevant to the review and documents
discussed in this report are available at the OSHA Docket Office,
Docket No. OSHA-2007-0024, Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, U.S.
Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC
20210, Telephone (202) 693-2350. The main text of the report, this
Federal Register Notice and any news releases will become available at
the OSHA Webpage at http://www.OSHA.gov. Electronic copies of this
Federal Register Document, the full text of the report, comments and
referenced documents are or will become available at http://www.regulations.gov.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: General information: Joanna Dizikes
Friedrich, OSHA Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis, Room N-3641,
U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC,
20210; telephone (202) 693-1939.
MC (also known as methylene dichloride or dichloromethane [DCM or
MC]) is a common industrial solvent used in a number of different
applications, including paint stripping, metal cleaning and the
manufacture of plastics and adhesives. Without proper ventilation or
respiratory protection, short-term exposure to large amounts of MC can
cause respiratory or central nervous system failure. In 1985, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that MC was a probable
human carcinogen and posed a long term danger to human health.\1\ EPA
promulgated rules governing the use of MC in several industries during
1994-1995. On January 10, 1997, OSHA published its final MC Standard to
protect workers from occupational exposure to MC.\2\ It reduced the
permissible exposure limit from an 8-hour-time-weighted-average (TWA)
of 500 parts per million (ppm) to 25 ppm.\3\
\1\ 62 FR 1497, January 10, 1997.
\2\ 62 FR 1494.
\3\ Regulatory Impact Analysis (Methylene Chloride) ES-2,
January 7, 1996.
The purpose of this lookback study was to review the current MC
Standard, in accordance with section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility
Act and Section 5 of Executive Order 12866, to determine whether the
rule has functioned as intended, whether it could be simplified or
improved, or whether it is no longer needed and should be rescinded.
The purpose of a review under section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility
"to determine whether such rule should be continued without change,
or should be rescinded, or amended consistent with the stated
objectives of applicable statutes to minimize any significant impact
of the rules on a substantial number of small entities."
In conducting a section 610 review, the Agency must consider the
"(1) The continued need for the rule;
(2) The nature of complaints or comments received concerning the
rule from the public;
(3) The complexity of the rule;
(4) The extent to which the rule overlaps, duplicates or
conflicts with other Federal rules, and, to the extent feasible,
with State and local governmental rules; and
(5) The length of time since the rule has been evaluated or the
degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors
have changed in the area affected by the rule."
The review requirements of section 5 of EO 12866 require agencies:
"To reduce the regulatory burden on the American people, their
families, their communities, their State, local, and tribal
governments, and their industries; to determine whether regulations
promulgated by the [Agency] have become unjustified or unnecessary
as a result of changed circumstances; to confirm that regulations
are both compatible with each other and not duplicative or
inappropriately burdensome in the aggregate; to ensure that all
regulations are consistent with the President's priorities and the
principles set forth in this Executive Order, within applicable law;
and to otherwise improve the effectiveness of existing
To carry out its lookback review of the MC Standard under these
provisions, OSHA requested public comment, on July 10, 2007, on: the
impacts of the rule on small businesses; the benefits and utility of
the rule in its current form and, if amended, in its amended form; the
continuedneed for the rule; the complexity of the rule; and whether,
and to what extent, the rule overlaps, duplicates, or conflicts with other
Federal, State, and local government rules. OSHA also asked for comments on new
developments in technology, economic conditions, or other factors
affecting the ability of covered firms to comply with the standard.
Furthermore, OSHA asked for comments on alternatives to the rule that
would minimize significant impacts on small businesses while achieving
the objectives of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Conclusions and Recommendations
OSHA's Section 610 review of the MC Standard finds the following:
There is a continued need for the Standard.
The Standard does not impose an unnecessary or
disproportionate burden on small businesses or on industry in general.
Although the Standard does impose costs, these costs are
essential to protecting worker health.
This lookback review did not identify any industries in
which the Standard diminished the industries' viability.
There is no indication that employers are unable to comply
due to the complexity of the Standard.
The Standard does not overlap, duplicate, or conflict with
other state or federal rules.
Economic and technological trends have not reduced the
need for the Standard.
No public commenter felt the MC Standard should be
rescinded. Several of the comments underscored the hazards associated
with exposure to MC and that it is feasible to comply with the
Standard. Other comments contained specific suggestions for how
compliance with the Standard could be improved through compliance
assistance, and how worker health could be improved through information
on the toxicity of substitutes for MC use.
OSHA's review of the MC Standard under EO 12866 finds the
The Standard remains justified and necessary in light of
ongoing hazards and fatalities.
In general, the Standard is compatible and not duplicative
with other state or federal rules.
The Standard remains consistent with E.O. 12866 because it
has produced the intended benefits (i.e., protecting workers' health),
and has not been unduly burdensome.
OSHA concludes that the MC Standard has protected workers from
adverse health effects resulting from exposure to MC in the workplace.
In terms of economic impacts, the MC Standard does not impose an
unnecessary or disproportionate burden on small businesses or on
industry in general. Although the Standard does impose costs, these
costs are essential to protecting worker health. This lookback review
did not identify any industries in which the MC Standard diminished the
OSHA recommends the following:
The MC Standard should continue without change.
According to public comments, lack of information and
training are the most common barriers in the construction industry for
compliance with the MC Standard. Therefore, OSHA recommends reviewing
its compliance assistance materials to determine the need for updates.
OSHA also recommends reviewing the adequacy of how these materials are
disseminated and additional means for reaching affected populations.
The use of substitutes for MC has increased in certain
industries. These substitutes may pose their own health hazards.
Therefore, based on public comments, OSHA will consider putting out
guidance recommending that, before a substitute for MC is used, the
toxicity of that substitute should be checked on the EPA and NIOSH Web
sites (http://www.epa.gov and http://www.niosh.gov, respectively).
Authority: This document was prepared under the direction of
David Michaels, PhD, MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for
Occupational Safety and Health, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW.,
Washington, DC 20210. It is issued under Section 610 of the
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 610) and Section 5 of Executive
Order 12866 (58 FR 51735, October 4, 1993).
Signed at Washington, DC, on April 26, 2010.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2010-10107 Filed 5-4-10; 8:45 am]
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