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• Publication Date: 05/05/2010
• Publication Type: Proposed Rules
• Fed Register #: 75:24509-24510
• Standard Number: 1910.1052
• Title: Notice of Availability of the Regulatory Flexibility Act Review of the Methylene Chloride Standard

[Federal Register: May 5, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 86)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 24509-24510]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr05my10-29]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1910

Docket No. OSHA-2007-0024]

RIN 1218-AC23

 
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.

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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whether it is no longer needed and should be rescinded.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.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    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\
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    \1\ 62 FR 1497, January 10, 1997.
    \2\ 62 FR 1494.
    \3\ Regulatory Impact Analysis (Methylene Chloride) ES-2, 
January 7, 1996.
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Regulatory Review

    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 
Act is:

"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 
following factors:

    "(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 
regulations."

    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 
following:
     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 
industries' viability.
    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.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 2010-10107 Filed 5-4-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-26-P




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