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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.
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News Release USDL: 96-10
Thursday, January 25, 1996
Contact: Frank Kane (202) 219-8151


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced it will hold a public meeting Feb. 22 in Washington on updating its permissible exposure limits (PELs) for hazardous chemicals.

"The present OSHA PELs in the air contaminants standard were established in 1971 when the agency was created and are based on research conducted primarily in the 1950's and early 1960's," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Joseph A. Dear. "In most cases those early exposure limits are outdated and do not adequately protect workers."

OSHA revised 376 PELs for general industry in 1989 to provide additional health protection for more than 21 million employees. But in 1992, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that OSHA did not sufficiently demonstrate the necessity or feasibility of the new PELs. The court's decision to vacate the new limits forced OSHA to return to the original 1971 limits. Now OSHA wants to start a systematic new process of updating existing PELs and adding new ones.

OSHA intends to publish a proposal to update PELs for about 20 substances in the late spring. These substances currently are slated for the air contaminants rulemaking (although some may be dropped or others added later):

Carbon disulfide n-Hexane Perchloroethylene
Carbon monoxide 2-Hexanone Sulfur Dioxide
Chloroform Hydrazine Toluene
Dimethyl sulfate Hydrogen sulfide Toluene diisocyanate
Epichlorohydrin Manganese & compounds Trimellitic anhydride
Ethylene dichloride Mercury & compounds Vinyl bromide
Glutaraldehyde Nitrogen dioxide  

The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22 in the Frances Perkins Building (Department of Labor) Auditorium, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20210. The nearest Metro station is Judiciary Square Station on the Red Line.

The first part of the meeting will include background information on OSHA's past efforts and current strategy for updating PELs, followed by a general discussion of OSHA's method for identifying substances for inclusion in the current phase of rulemaking.

The second part of the meeting will cover significance of risk, risk assessment methodology as applied to both carcinogenic (cancer-causing) and noncarcinogenic effects of substances, and feasibility analysis methodology.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss general issues germane to the current air contaminants rulemaking. OSHA does not intend to discuss health effects information and other issues relevant only to specific substances at this particular meeting. The regulatory process will provide ample opportunity for interested parties to submit oral and written comments on specific substances.

The meeting is open to the public. The auditorium accommodates about 240 persons. Pre-registration is requested for all participants and required for those planning on making a brief presentation. To register, information must be sent by mail or fax to Julia Pesak at:

    U. S. Department of Labor/OSHA, Rm. N 3718
    200 Constitution Ave., NW
    Washington, D.C. 20210

Or, to register by E-mail, send the same information to Lyn Penniman at:

Information required for registration is:

  • Name of participant

  • Organization represented by participant

  • Topic(s) participant desires to address

  • Approximate time requested for each topic, maximum of 15 minutes total for each participant.

The registration must be received by Monday, Feb. 12. A previous meeting discussing the topic of PELs was held with stakeholders in July, 1995.

Notice of the meeting is published in the Wednesday, Jan. 24 Federal Register.

Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents

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