OSHA News Release - (Archived) Table of Contents|
TRADE NEWS RELEASE
Monday, Nov. 25, 2002
Contact: Bill Wright/Frank Meilinger
Phone: (202) 693-1999
OF OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO BERYLLIUM
WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is asking for comments and information from the public to help the agency determine the best way to address occupational exposures to beryllium. The request for information is scheduled to be published in the Nov. 26 Federal Register.
Beryllium is a lightweight metal found in coal, oil, certain rock minerals, volcanic dust, and soil. It's used by the aerospace, nuclear, and manufacturing industries, and is found in dental appliances, golf clubs, non-sparking tools, and various electronic applications. The metal is also toxic and can cause lung cancer and skin disease.
"We know there's an association between adverse health effects and exposure to this metal," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "We've published two hazard information bulletins on the topic just in the past three years. To determine the best future course of action to take, we need to obtain as much information as we can on the many complex issues related to health effects, current uses, and employee exposures to this metal. The best way to do that is to provide interested members of the public an opportunity to be heard on these issues."
OSHA's request for information covers numerous topics including employee exposure, health effects, risk assessment, exposure assessment and monitoring methods, control measures and technological feasibility, economic impacts, employee training, medical surveillance, and environmental and small business impacts.
Comments must be submitted by Feb. 24, 2003. To submit comments by regular mail, express delivery, hand delivery or messenger service, send three copies and attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. H005C, Room N2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20210. You may also fax comments (10 pages or fewer) to OSHA's Docket Office at (202) 693-1648. Include the docket number in your comments. Finally, comments may be submitted electronically through the Internet at http://ecomments.osha.gov. Further information on submitting comments can be obtained by calling the Docket Office at (202) 693-2350.
OSHA's current general industry standard sets a permissible exposure limit for beryllium at two micrograms per cubic meter of air for an 8-hour time-weighted average or five micrograms per cubic meter of air not to exceed 30 minutes at a time. OSHA says employees should never be exposed to more than 25 micrograms of the metal, regardless of how short the exposure.
This news release text is on the Internet at http://www.osha.gov. Information on this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 693-1999.
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