Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents
• Record Type: Occupational Exposure to Methylene Chloride
• Section: 8
• Title: Section 8 - VIII. Summary of the Final Economic Analysis

VIII. Summary of the Final Economic Analysis

In its Final Economic and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis document, OSHA addresses the significant issues related to technological and economic feasibility and small business impacts raised in the rulemaking process. The Final Economic Analysis is also OSHA's most comprehensive explanation of the standard's practical impact on the regulated community; in the Final Economic Analysis, OSHA explains in detail the Agency's findings and conclusions concerning pre-standard (baseline) conditions, such as exposure levels, in establishments in the regulated community, and discusses how and why the requirements of the standard are expected to eliminate significant risk to the extent feasible. This document also sets forth OSHA's Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis and the analyses required by Executive Order 12866. This Federal Register preamble and the Final Economic Analysis are integrally related and together present the fullest statement of OSHA's reasoning concerning this standard. The Final Economic and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, together with supporting appendix material, has been placed in the rulemaking docket for methylene chloride (Ex. 129).

The purpose of the Final Economic Analysis is to:

* Describe the need for a standard governing occupational exposure to methylene chloride;

* Identify the establishments and industries potentially affected by the standard;

* Evaluate the costs, benefits, economic impacts and small business impacts of the standard on affected firms;

* Assess the technological and economic feasibility of the standard for affected establishments, industries, and small businesses;

* Evaluate the availability of effective non-regulatory approaches to the problem of occupational exposure to methylene chloride; and

* Present changes designed to reduce the impact of the standard on small firms while meeting the objectives of the OSH Act.

Need for the Standard

OSHA's final methylene chloride (MC) standard covers occupational exposures to this substance, one of the most widely used of all organic solvents, in general industry, construction, and shipyard employment. In all, about 237,000 employees are estimated to be exposed to MC. These workers are exposed to MC in many different ways, including the manufacturing, formulation, distribution, and use of MC-containing products. The most common uses of MC are in paint stripping, metal cleaning, and furniture stripping.

Workers exposed to MC are at significant risk of developing cancer, heart and liver effects, and central nervous system impairments, as well as eye, skin, and mucous membrane irritation. Animal bioassays have shown MC to be carcinogenic in mice and rats of both sexes, and epidemiologic studies in workers have produced suggestive evidence of its carcinogenicity in humans. Acute overexposure to the vapors of MC can lead to central nervous system depression, respiratory paralysis, and death: OSHA receives fatality reports every year involving workers who have died using MC to perform such tasks as stripping floors and removing paint. To protect all MC-exposed workers from these adverse health effects, the final standard lowers the airborne concentration of MC to which workers may be exposed from the current permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 500 ppm as an 8-hour time-weighted average (8-hour TWA) to 25 ppm, and from the Agency's current short-term limit of 1000 ppm as an acceptable ceiling, or 2000 ppm as an acceptable peak above the acceptable ceiling for 5 minutes in any 2-hour period, to a short-term exposure limit (STEL) of 125 ppm, averaged over 15 minutes. (For a detailed discussion of the risks posed to workers by exposure to MC, see the Quantitative Risk Assessment and Significance of Risk sections of the preamble, above.) OSHA's final MC standard is similar in format and content to other health standards issued under Section (6)(b)(5) of the Act. In addition to setting PELs, the standard requires employers to monitor the exposures of workers; establish regulated areas when exposures may reasonably be expected to exceed one of these PELs; implement engineering and work practice controls to reduce employee exposures to MC; provide respiratory protection to supplement engineering controls where these are not feasible, are insufficient to meet the PELs, or in emergencies; provide other protective clothing and equipment as necessary for employee protection; make industrial hygiene facilities (such as eyewash and emergency showers) available in certain circumstances; provide medical surveillance; train workers about the hazards of MC (as required by OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard); and keep records relating to the standard. The contents of the standard are explained briefly in Chapter I of the Final Economic Analysis and in detail in the Summary and Explanation (Section X of the preamble, below).

Chapter II of the economic analysis describes the uses of methylene chloride and the industries in which such use occurs. Employee exposures to MC are analyzed on the basis of "application groups," i.e., groups of firms that use MC to perform a particular function, such as metal cleaning or industrial paint stripping, regardless of the particular industry in which the use takes place. The methodology used by OSHA in the analysis is appropriate when a ubiquitous chemical like MC is used to perform the same function in many kinds of firms in many industries, because the processes used, employee exposures generated, and controls in place or needed to achieve compliance are the same, whether the process takes place in a machine shop, on board ship, or on a construction site. For example, because the process of using MC to strip paint or coatings from an object is essentially the same whether the object being stripped is a spray paint booth, boat, church pew, or automobile, and the exposures generated during the process are similar in important respects, it is appropriate to analyze such activities as a group. However, OSHA's technological feasibility and cost analyses reflect the fact that job classifications and work processes may differ within a given application group. Table VIII-1 shows the application groups analyzed in the economic analysis, and the numbers of MC-using establishments, MC-exposed workers, and estimated volume of MC handled annually by establishments in each application group.

        Table VIII-1. -- Methylene Chloride Application Groups
                        |Estimated |           |Estimated |Estimated
                        |number of |Estimated  |number of |MC handled
   Application group    |MC-using  |total      |exposed   |(millions
                        |establish-|employ-    |workers(*)|of lbs)
                        | ments    | ment(*)   |          |
Methylene Chloride      |          |           |          |
 Manufacturing..........|        4 |     1,664 |       84 |    469.20
Distribution/Formulation|          |           |          |
 of Solvents............|      320 |    84,004 |    1,701 |    189.65
Metal Cleaning:         |          |           |          |
  Cold Degreasing and   |          |           |          |
  Other Cold Cleaning:  |   23,717 |   901,232 |   94,537 |     32.56
    Open-Top Vapor      |          |           |          |
     Degreasing.........|      278 |    27,105 |      608 |     14.87
    Conveyorized        |          |           |          |
     Vapor Degreasing...|       45 |     2,920 |       75 |      1.13
     Semiconductors.....|      239 |   217,960 |    1,392 |      0.40
     Printed Circuit    |          |           |          |
     Boards.............|      141 |    77,795 |      298 |     13.98
Aerosol Packaging.......|       52 |     4,142 |      520 |     25.21
Paint Remover           |          |           |          |
 Manufacturing..........|       80 |     6,134 |      200 |     136.85
Paint Manufacturing.....|       49 |     8,909 |      229 |       3.54
Paint Stripping:        |          |           |          |
  Aircraft Stripping....|      300 |   266,826 |    2,470 |      13.17
  Furniture Stripping...|    6,152 |    23,592 |    7,872 |      23.26
  Other Industrial      |          |           |          |
   Paint Stripping......|   35,041 | 2,312,721 |   46,605 |      59.36
Flexible Polyurethane   |          |           |          |
Foam Manufacturing......|      100 |     9,800 |      600 |      50.32
Plastics and Adhesives  |          |           |          |
Manufacturing and Use...|    3,487 | 1,186,040 |   10,481 |      41.90
  Adhesive Production...|      165 |    56,254 |      497 | ...........
  Adhesive Use..........|    1,753 |   596,291 |    5,269 | ...........
  Injection Molding.....|       80 |    27,211 |      240 | ...........
  Lamination............|    1,323 |   450,031 |    4,070 | ...........
  Mold Release..........|      165 |    56,254 |      497 | ...........
Ink Use:                |          |           |          |
  Ink and Ink Solvent   |          |           |          |
  Manufacturing.........|       15 |     2,010 |       58 |       3.68
 Ink Solvent Use in     |          |           |          |
 Printing...............|   11,869 |   197,619 |   39,481 |       3.68
Pesticide Manufacturing |          |           |          |
 and Formulation........|       60 |     1,440 |      120 |       9.58
Pharmaceutical          |          |           |          |
 Manufacturing..........|      108 |    70,223 |    1,431 |      39.53
Solvent Recovery........|       34 |       932 |      137 |      32.10
Film Base               |          |           |          |
 Manufacturing..........|        1 |    45,000 |      500 |       8.90
Polycarbonate           |          |           |          |
 Manufacturing..........|        4 |     1,898 |       67 |       6.70
Construction............|    9,504 |    63,115 |   24,896 |       2.44
Shipyards...............|       25 |    85,212 |    3,040 |       0.47
  Total, all            |          |           |          |
 application groups.....|   91,624 | 5,598,293 |  237,496 |       (**)
  Footnote(*) In most cases, the estimated number of establishments in
each application group was based on the volume flow of MC in 1990
divided by the estimated MC use per facility. The estimated number of
establishments was multiplied by the total number of employees per
establishment and exposed employees per establishment as reported in
CONSAD's survey.
  Footnote(**) Netting out rehandling, estimated total consumption
equals 469.2 million pounds manufactured, minus 129.1 million pounds
exported, + 19.3 million pounds imported, + 32.10 million pounds
recovered from used solvent. The column does not sum to 391.5 million
pounds because non-consumptive uses such as production, distribution
and formulation, and solvent recovery are included.
  Sources: CONSAD, HSIA, PRMA, Office of Regulatory Analysis.

In all, OSHA analyzed 28 application groups. These application groups include, among others, methylene chloride manufacturing, paint manufacturing, metal cleaning, polyurethane foam manufacturing, plastics and adhesives manufacturing, ink use, pharmaceuticals, and construction and shipyards. A total of 91,624 establishments are estimated to be potentially affected by the standard. These establishments employ a total of 5.6 million employees, of whom 237,496 are estimated to be exposed to MC in the course of their work. The application groups with the largest numbers of directly exposed employees are the Metal Cleaning, All Other Industrial Paint Stripping, and Ink Solvent Use groups. In many facilities, MC is used only by a small number of employees; the average number of MC-exposed employees per establishment covered by the final rule is only 2.6 employees.

Chapter III of the analysis assesses the technological feasibility of the final standard's requirements, and particularly its PELs, for firms in the 28 application groups identified in the Industry Profile. OSHA finds, based on an analysis of exposure data taken on workers performing the MC-related tasks identified for each application group, that compliance with the standard is technologically feasible for establishments in every application group studied. With few exceptions, employers will be able to achieve compliance with both PELs through the use of engineering controls and work practices. The few exceptions are certain maintenance activities, such as vessel cleaning, which have traditionally involved the use of respiratory protection, and operations in two applications where the supplemental use of respirators may be necessary. These operations are centrifuge unloading and dryer loading at one bulk pharmaceutical manufacturing facility operated by Abbott Laboratories, and operations involving access to and entering of the roll coating machine used by the Eastman Kodak Company to make film base.

The exposure data relied on by OSHA in making its technological feasibility determinations have been compiled in a database that contains thousands of MC exposure results (see Appendix B of this analysis) taken by OSHA compliance officers, consultation program consultants, MC-using companies, and interested parties. These data show that many facilities in many of the affected application groups have already achieved the reductions in employee exposures required by the final rule. In addition, the exposures of many employees in many job categories in a number of the application groups have been reduced to levels that are close to those required by the standard. OSHA's analysis of technological feasibility analyzes employee exposures at the operation or task level to the extent that such data are available. In other words, the analysis identifies relevant exposure data on a job-category-by-job category basis to permit the Agency to pinpoint those MC-exposed workers and job operations that are not yet under good process control and will thus need additional controls (including improved housekeeping, maintenance procedures, and employee work practices) to achieve compliance. Costs are then developed (see Chapter V of the economic analysis) for the improved controls needed to reach the new levels.

The benefits that will accrue to MC-exposed employees and their employers are substantial and take a number of forms. Chapter IV of the analysis describes these benefits, both in quantitative and qualitative form. First, based on a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model, OSHA estimated that, if all 237,000 employees were exposed at the existing 8-hour TWA exposure limit of 500 ppm for an occupational lifetime of 45 years, a total of 29,862 excess cancer deaths would occur, or 126 excess cancer deaths per 1,000 workers. If, however, the 237,000 employees were exposed to the final standard's PEL of 25 ppm for 45 years, 8533 excess cancer deaths would be expected (3.6 per thousand workers). However, few workers are currently being exposed to 500 ppm of MC as an 8-hour TWA. The actual exposure levels of most affected workers are considerably lower, and, when these exposure levels, rather than 500 ppm, are used as the baseline, the PBPK model estimates that 1405 cancer deaths will be averted over a 45-year period. By reducing the total number of MC-related cancer deaths from 1,804 deaths to 399 deaths over 45 years, the standard will save an average of 31 cancer deaths per year. Table VIII-2 shows these risk estimates.

 Table VIII-2. -- Lung Cancer Risk Over 45 Years for Workers Exposed
                     At Current Exposure Levels and at the Levels
                 Expected After Implementation of the Final Standard
            |0-12.5   |  12.5-25  |    25     |   25-50   |  50-100
Lifetime    |         |           |           |           |
 Excess     |         |           |           |           |
 Cancer     |         |           |           |           |
 Risk       |         |           |           |           |
 (per       |         |           |           |           |
 thousand   |         |           |           |           |
 workers)(*)|    0.91 |      2.71 |      3.60 |      5.53 |     11.98
Baseline    |         |           |           |           |
 Number     |         |           |           |           |
 of         |         |           |           |           |
 Workers    |         |           |           |           |
 Exposed....| 141,323 |    26,464 |       162 |    22,839 |    23,903
Estimated   |         |           |           |           |
 Excess     |         |           |           |           |
 Deaths     |         |           |           |           |
 in         |         |           |           |           |
 Baseline   |         |           |           |           |
 (Existing  |         |           |           |           |
 PEL)(**)...|     129 |        72 |         1 |       126 |       286
Predicted   |         |           |           |           |
 Number     |         |           |           |           |
 of         |         |           |           |           |
 Workers    |         |           |           |           |
 Exposed    |         |           |           |           |
 at New     |         |           |           |           |
 PEL........| 159,825 |    28,441 |    49,229 |         0 |         0
Predicted   |         |           |           |           |
 Excess     |         |           |           |           |
 Deaths at  |         |           |           |           |
 New PEL(**)|     146 |        77 |       176 |         0 |         0

 Table VIII-2. -- Lung Cancer Risk Over 45 Years for Workers Exposed
                   At Current Exposure Levels and at the Levels
                    Expected After Implementation of the Final
                             Standard - Continued
            |100-200  |  200-350  |  350-500  |  500+(***)|   Total
Lifetime    |         |           |           |           |
 Excess     |         |           |           |           |
 Cancer     |         |           |           |           |
 Risk       |         |           |           |           |
 (per       |         |           |           |           |
 thousand   |         |           |           |           |
 workers)(*)|   28.45 |     61.75 |    104.44 |    125.78 | ..........
Baseline    |         |           |           |           |
 Number     |         |           |           |           |
 of         |         |           |           |           |
 Workers    |         |           |           |           |
 Exposed....|  14,803 |     3,281 |     1,297 |     3,422 |   237,495
Estimated   |         |           |           |           |
 Excess     |         |           |           |           |
 Deaths     |         |           |           |           |
 in         |         |           |           |           |
 Baseline   |         |           |           |           |
 (Existing  |         |           |           |           |
 PEL)(**)...|     421 |       203 |       135 |       430 |     1,804
Predicted   |         |           |           |           |
 Number     |         |           |           |           |
 of         |         |           |           |           |
 Workers    |         |           |           |           |
 Exposed    |         |           |           |           |
 at New     |         |           |           |           |
 PEL........|       0 |         0 |         0 |         0 |   237,495
Predicted   |         |           |           |           |
 Excess     |         |           |           |           |
 Deaths at  |         |           |           |           |
 New PEL(**)|       0 |         0 |         0 |         0 |       399
  Footnote(*) Based on OSHA's final estimate using the PBPK model, as
presented in the Quantitative Risk Assessment section of the Preamble.
  Footnote(**) Computed as level of lifetime risk times the number of
exposed workers.
  Footnote(***) For workers exposed to levels of greater than the
current PEL of 500 ppm, the risk estimate is that associated with a
lifetime exposure to 500 ppm.
  Source: Office of Regulatory Analysis; OSHA; Department of Labor.

In addition to cancer deaths, the standard is estimated to prevent 3 deaths per year from MC's acute central nervous system and carboxyhemoglobinemic effects. (Carboxy-hemoglobinemia is the inability of the blood to carry sufficient oxygen to supply the heart muscle; because methylene chloride interferes with the blood's ability to carry oxygen, exposure to it places susceptible individuals, such as those with silent cardiovascular disease, pregnant women, and smokers, at greater risk.) OSHA receives reports every year of workers who have succumbed to MC's acute CNS toxicity while they were engaged in such tasks as floor stripping. For example, the Agency recently received a fatality report on two young workers who died after pouring 14 gallons of MC on a squash court they were refinishing. Both of these employees lost consciousness, collapsed, and subsequently died of respiratory failure. In addition, MC exposures above the level at which the final rule's STEL is set -- 125 ppm -- are also associated with acute central nervous system effects, such as dizziness, staggered gait, and diminished alertness, all effects that can lead to workplace accidents. OSHA estimates that as many as 30,000 to 54,000 workers will be protected by the final rule's STEL from experiencing CNS effects and episodes of carboxyhemoglobinemia every year. Moreover, exposure to the liquid or vapor forms of MC can lead to eye, skin, and mucous membrane irritation, and these material impairments will also be averted by compliance with the final rule. Finally, contact of the skin with MC can lead to percutaneous absorption and systemic toxicity and thus lead to additional cases of cancer that have not been taken into account in the benefits assessment presented in Chapter IV of the Final Economic Analysis.

The costs employers in the affected application groups are estimated to incur to comply with the standard total $101 million in 1994 dollars. These costs, which are presented in Chapter V of the full economic analysis, are annualized over a 10-year horizon at a discount rate of 7 percent. Table VIII-3 shows annualized costs by provision of the standard; the most costly provisions are those requiring engineering controls, protective clothing and eye protection, and medical surveillance for MC-exposed workers. These three provisions together account for approximately 75 percent of the standard's compliance costs.

           Table VIII-3. -- Annualized Costs by Provision
                                                    |   Annualized
                    Provision                       |      Costs
Engineering Controls................................|  $38,773,642
Respirators.........................................|    6,374,083
Monitoring..........................................|    9,849,577
Protective Clothing and Eye Protection..............|   29,578,340
Emergency Eyewash and Shower........................|    3,183,486
Medical Surveillance................................|    7,986,493
Leak and Spill Detection Program....................|    3,703,286
Regulated Areas.....................................|      150,884
Recordkeeping.......................................|      652,121
Training............................................|      196,656
Understanding Regulation and Developing Training....|      777,132
      Subtotal......................................|  101,225,701
Costs of Substitution...............................|      237,336
      Total.........................................|  101,463,037
  Source: Office of Regulatory Analysis; OSHA; Department of Labor.

Table VIII-4 analyzes compliance costs by application group and shows that the Cold Cleaning application group, which is in the larger Metal Cleaning grouping, and the Furniture Stripping application group, which is in the larger Paint Stripping category, will incur the largest costs of compliance (though not necessarily the largest economic impacts). These costs reflect the high exposures and relative lack of control measures currently existing in many establishments in these two application groups. In other words, because MC exposures are poorly controlled in so many cold cleaning and furniture stripping facilities, employers in these industries will be required by the standard to implement control measures to protect their employees from the significant risk of MC exposure.

     Table VIII-4. -- Annualized Costs by Methylene Chloride
                               Application Groups
                                                     |   Annualized
                 Application group                   |      costs
Methylene Chloride Manufacturing.....................|        8,150
Distribution/Formulation of Solvents.................|      794,099
Metal Cleaning:                                      |
  Cold Degreasing and Other Cold Cleaning............|   26,950,869
  Open-Top Vapor Degreasing..........................|      371,096
  Conveyorized Vapor Degreasing......................|       97,253
  Semiconductors.....................................|      247,666
  Printed Circuit Boards.............................|      217,479
Aerosol Packaging....................................|      297,999
Paint Remover Manufacturing..........................|      229,724
Paint Manufacturing..................................|       89,697
Paint Stripping:                                     |
  Aircraft Stripping.................................|    8,148,754
  Furniture Stripping................................|   10,689,840
  All Other Industrial Paint Stripping...............|   24,413,924
Flexible Polyurethane Foam Manufacturing.............|    4,252,861
Plastics and Adhesives Manufacturing and use.........|    5,417,950
  Adhesive Production                                |
  Adhesive Use                                       |
  Injection Molding                                  |
  Lamination                                         |
  Mold Release                                       |
Ink and Ink Solvent Manufacturing....................|       23,518
Ink Solvent Use......................................|    3,360,723
Pesticide Manufacturing and Formulation..............|      106,060
Pharmaceutical Manufacturing.........................|      311,708
Solvent Recovery.....................................|       49,829
Film Base Manufacturing..............................|       47,454
Polycarbonate Manufacturing..........................|        4,651
Construction.........................................|   14,922,000
Shipyards............................................|      518,544
                                                     | ______________
      Total, all application groups..................|  101,463,037
  Source: Office of Regulatory Analysis; OSHA; Department of Labor.

Chapter VI of the economic analysis analyzes the impacts of compliance costs on firms in affected application groups. The standard is clearly economically feasible: on average, annualized compliance costs amount only to 0.18 percent of estimated sales and 3.79 percent of profits. For all but three application groups -- polyurethane foam blowing, furniture stripping, and construction -- compliance costs are less than 3 percent of profits, and for all but one application group -- furniture stripping -- annualized compliance costs are less than 0.5 percent of the value of sales. Table VIII-5 shows average compliance cost impacts across the many Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes potentially involved in the application groups studied.

 Table VIII-5. -- Screening Analysis to Identify Possible Economic
                          Impact of the Final MC Standard
                          |              |      Annualized costs of
                          |  Number of   |        compliance
   Application group      |establishments|___________________________
                          |  complying   | As percent  | As percent
                          |              |  of sales   | of profit
Manufacture of MC.........|            4 |         (*) |      0.04
Distribution/Formulation  |              |             |
 of Solvents..............|          320 |        0.04 |      0.55
Metal Cleaning:           |              |             |
    Cold Degreasing and   |              |             |
     Other Cold Cleaning..|       23,717 |        0.01 |      0.18
    Open-Top Vapor        |              |             |
     Degreasing...........|          278 |        0.01 |      0.22
    Conveyorized Vapor    |              |             |
     Degreasing...........|           45 |        0.02 |      0.35
    Semiconductors........|          239 |         (*) |      0.05
    Printed Circuit Boards|          141 |        0.02 |      0.41
Aerosol Packaging.........|           50 |        0.01 |      0.13
Paint Remover             |              |             |
 Manufacturing............|           80 |        0.02 |      0.06
Paint Manufacturing.......|           49 |        0.01 |      0.04
Paint Remover Use (Paint  |              |             |
 Stripping):              |              |             |
    Aircraft Stripping    |              |             |
     (Large Firms)........|           75 |        0.07 |      1.34
    Aircraft Stripping    |              |             |
     (Small Firms)........|          225 |        0.08 |      2.12
    Furniture Stripping...|        6,152 |        2.04 | (**)39.40
    All Other Industrial  |              |             |
     Paint                |              |             |
     Stripping............|       35,041 |        0.01 |      0.11
Flexible Polyurethane Foam|              |             |
 Manufacturing............|          100 |        0.32 |  (**)9.23
Plastics and Adhesives    |              |             |
 Manufacturing and Use....|        3,487 |        0.03 |      0.52
Ink and Ink Solvent       |              |             |
 Manufacturing............|           15 |         (*) |      0.03
Ink Solvent Use...........|       11,869 |        0.03 |      0.05
Pesticide Manufacturing   |              |             |
 and Formulation..........|           60 |        0.01 |      0.35
Pharmaceutical            |              |             |
 Manufacturing............|          108 |         (*) |      0.03
Solvent Recovery..........|           37 |        0.05 |      0.85
Film Base.................|            1 |         (*) |      0.01
Polycarbonates............|            4 |         (*) |       (*)
Construction..............|        9,504 |       0.35  |  (**)9.67
Shipyards.................|           25 |       0.07  |      1.72
All Application groups....|       91,625 |       0.18  |      3.79
  Footnote(*) = less than .005%.
  Footnote(**) These relatively high impacts on profits assume that no
price increase is possible. In all three cases, price increases of 2.1
percent or less would fully restore profits. In all of these
application groups, most firms will be able to increase prices to
offset their regulatory costs. In furniture stripping, a substantial
portion of the market is for antique refinishing that involves MC use,
a service which is relatively price insenstive. Soft flexible foam of
the kind MC is used to make is an essential material in the
construction of cushions of all types. In the construction sector, MC
based paint stripping and foam blowing are essential operations of
many of the jobs in which they are used.
  Sources: CONSAD; Dun & Bradstreet; Office of Regulatory Analysis,
OSHA, Department of Labor.

  It is important to understand that OSHA's methodology tends to
overestimate the economic impacts of the standard, for a number of
reasons. For example, OSHA's cost methodology does not take into
account the many simple and virtually cost-less improvements in
employee work practices and housekeeping procedures that would enable
many employers to achieve compliance with the final rule's PELs. In
flexible polyurethane foam manufacturing, for example, OSHA's costs
may be overestimated because it was assumed that no firms would
substitute away from MC entirely, even though some firms have already
done so (as described in Chapter III, Technological Feasibility).
Despite the fact that OSHA's cost estimates are likely to be
overestimates, OSHA decided to examine in greater detail the three
application groups shown by the economic analysis to have the highest
costs as a percentage of profits, i.e., furniture stripping,
polyurethane foam manufacturing, and construction.
  In the furniture refinishing application group, compliance costs are
2.0 percent of the value of revenues and 39 percent of the value of
before-tax profits. Approximately half of all furniture refinishing
sales derive from antique refinishing, a market niche that is unlikely
to be sensitive to a 2.0 percent change in price. Even in the area of
used furniture refinishing, which constitutes the remaining half of
the furniture refinishing market, a 2.0 percent price increase would
be unlikely to significantly alter the amount of furniture being
refinished. In general, price increases of this magnitude would be
expected to result only in a very small drop in the demand for
furniture refinishing. If this were not the case, normal business
fluctuations, such as drops in the relative cost of new furniture or
a major increase in the price of methylene chloride (such as has
occurred in recent years) would also have had major impacts on the
  In construction and polyurethane foam manufacturing, compliance
costs for the average firm are 9.2 and 9.7 percent of profits,
respectively. However, to offset these costs, construction firms would
need only to increase their revenues by 0.35 percent and foam blowing
operations would need only to increase the price of their products by
0.32 percent. In construction, such price increases are unlikely to
present a problem, since the use of MC is essential on many larger
construction projects. For example, it is difficult to believe that
demand for remodeling or renovation projects would be seriously
altered by a 0.35 percent increase in the cost of the paint stripping
portion of the job. In flexible polyurethane foam manufacturing,
either MC or an appropriate substitute is essential to the production
of low density, or soft, foam, and foam, in turn, is essential to the
production of many kinds of furniture. Demand for such products is
unlikely to change as a result of an 0.32 percent increase in the
price of flexible foam. OSHA therefore concludes that even marginal
firms in these three sectors -- furniture stripping, construction, and
flexible foam blowing -- are unlikely to close as a result of the
compliance costs of this standard.
  To ensure that the analysis of average impacts presented in the
economic analysis did not obscure potentially significant economic
impacts at the 4-digit SIC level, OSHA performed an in-depth analysis
of the 4-digit SICs potentially involved in the Cold Cleaning and All
Other Industrial Paint Stripping application groups. The results of
this in-depth analysis are presented in Appendix D of the full
economic analysis. In all, a total of 162 4-digit SICs potentially
impacted by the standard in the Cold Cleaning group and more than 200
4-digit SICs in the Other Industrial Paint Stripping group were
analyzed. Across all of the Cold Cleaning SICs, the average impact of
the costs of compliance is 0.06 percent of revenues and 1.12 percent
of profits. The largest impacts on profits occur in SIC 3412, Metal
Barrels, Drums, and Pails, and SIC 3494, Valves and Pipe Fittings not
elsewhere classified; in these cases, impacts on profits are 13.3 and
15.1 percent, respectively. In both of these cases, however, these
impacts are explained by extremely low profit margins (less than .02
percent of sales, i.e., less than $2 per $10,000 in sales, in 1994).
As a result, a price increase of less than one cent per $100 of
revenue would leave profits unchanged. Such a price increase is
feasible because an increase of this magnitude is unlikely to lead to
significant changes in the demand for metal barrels or valves and pipe
fittings. In no other 4-digit Cold Cleaning SIC did impacts reach even
5 percent of profits.
  Across all 200-plus Industrial Paint Stripping SICs, the average
impact of the costs of compliance on revenues is 0.03 percent. The
largest impact of costs on sales is 0.33 percent and occurs in SIC
7532, Auto Top, Body Repair, and Paint Shops (discussed further
below). The average impacts of costs on profits across these SICs is
0.17 percent. The largest impacts on profits occur in SIC 3412, SIC
3494 (both discussed above), and in SIC 7532, Auto Tops, Body Repair
and Paint Shops; in all three of these SICs, cost impacts are between
6 and 8 percent of profits. Again, the explanation for these impacts
in SICs 3412 and 3494 is that their profit margin in 1994 was
vanishingly low. The resulting price increases required to maintain
profits are also extremely small, and OSHA concludes that such an
increase is likely to take place in these cases. In SIC 7532, the
other relatively high impact SIC, profit margins are relatively high
(approximately 4.4 percent), and thus a small decline of this
magnitude would have relatively little impact.

Summary of the Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

  In its 1991 proposal, OSHA requested comments and information that
would assist the Agency in identifying small-business users of MC and
in structuring the final standard so that these users would be able to
achieve the standard's worker protection goals in ways that would be
technologically and economically feasible for them (56 FR 57041 to
57043). OSHA anticipated that, as stated in the proposal, the standard
might have a significant economic impact on small entities in at least
two application groups: firms with fewer than 20 employees that engage
in stripping of paint from aircraft, and firms with fewer than 20
employees that engage in furniture stripping.(3) OSHA also requested
comment concerning the standard's impact on small employers in light
of the Regulatory Flexibility Act's mandate to consider and minimize
impacts on small businesses, consistent with the purposes and criteria
of the standard's enabling legislation (56 FR 57115 to 57121).

  Footnote(3)  As a result of data and information received from
commenters and other information in the record, the Final Economic
Analysis does not identify significant impacts or technologic or
economic feasibility problems for aircraft stripping operations of any

  Many commenters identified additional application groups that
include small establishments likely to have difficulty achieving all
of the standard's protective goals if the requirements of the standard
were structured in a one-size-fits-all manner. These commenters
provided considerable data and identified many possible modifications
and alternatives to the proposed standard that they believed would
facilitate compliance and mitigate the standard's impact on MC-using
establishments with fewer than 20 employees.
  None of the comments concerning small employer issues, whether in
the context of economic or technological feasibility or the Regulatory
Flexibility Act, disagreed with OSHA's basic premise that the
fewer-than-20-employee cut-off was appropriate to distinguish between
large and small MC-using businesses, was a useful way of
characterizing the compliance abilities and limitations of affected
employers and is an appropriate definition for purposes of the
Regulatory Flexibility Act. Use of this numerical cut-off point
captures 61 percent of all establishments potentially affected by the
final rule. MC-users with fewer than 20 workers tend to have the
characteristics of "mom-and-pop" businesses, whereas establishments
with 20 or more workers are generally more sophisticated in terms of
the technology they use and their management resources. The
20-employee threshold has also proved to be an agreed-on and useful
cut-off point in past OSHA rulemakings (see, for example, the
permit-required confined spaces standard (58 FR 4547) and the process
safety management standard (57 FR 6402)).
  During Executive Order 12866 review, the Office of Advocacy of the
Small Business Administration expressed its views concerning OSHA's
small business definition. In a letter to OMB, the SBA's Chief Counsel
for Advocacy stated in a letter dated August 16, 1996, that "[t]he
regulatory alternatives developed, using OSHA's size standard of less
than 20 employees, were somewhat beneficial to two of the three
industries [furniture stripping, polyurethane foam blowing, and
construction]. These industries, i.e., furniture stripping and
construction, are predominantly micro businesses that fall into OSHA's
definition of small" (Ex. 130). The Office of Advocacy was concerned,
however, that the 20-employee cut-off did not adequately deal with the
MC-using polyurethane foam manufacturing sector. (In this application
group, the majority of establishments likely to experience significant
economic impacts fall into the 20 to 99-employee size category.)
"[T]he characteristics of the manufacturing sector indicate that the
[20 employee] size standard was not appropriate in that industry for
the purposes of regulatory flexibility." Id. The SBA concluded that
OSHA should consider taking additional steps to address implementation
burdens and the needs of the polyurethane foam manufacturing sector.
  Working with OMB and the SBA's Office of Advocacy to resolve this
concern, OSHA reexamined the potential impacts of the standard on
polyurethane foam manufacturing establishments in the 20 to 99
employee size category in the context of economic impact issues. As
explained more fully in the Final Economic and Regulatory Flexibility
Analysis, OSHA concluded that, even though members of this group were
not small employers, some accommodation would be necessary to assure
that employees working in establishments of this size in this industry
would not receive less protection than all other MC-exposed employees.
Accordingly, OSHA extended the engineering control implementation date
for this group of establishments by one year. This extended phase-in
is designed to enable this group of employers to plan for and
accumulate the capital to finance needed controls, install them, and
ensure their effective and consistent operation before the compliance
  OSHA's extensive feasibility studies and focus on small business
issues resulted in a number of modifications that have made the
standard more cost-effective for business while maintaining protection
for workers. In addition, OSHA conducted an alternative screening
analysis to measure the final rule's potential impacts on
establishments in the regulated community using the SBA's size
standards. For most application groups, this meant that OSHA examined
the standard's economic impacts on firms at the 500 employee level.
(Financial data are not available for cut-off points higher than 500
employees; thus, OSHA used that cut-off for all application groups.)
In some cases, the SBA size standards are defined in terms of annual
revenues, and for SICs so defined, OSHA translated these revenue
figures into the appropriate employee size category. This SBA-based
alternative screening analysis enabled the Agency to determine
whether, by failing to look at potential impacts among firms in other
size classes, significant impacts had been overlooked. The analysis
conducted using the SBA size standards confirmed that any potentially
significant economic impacts associated with the final rule occur
among firms in the fewer-than-20-employee category, with one
exception, i.e., firms in the 20-99 employee size category in the
polyurethane foam manufacturing industry. (See the full Final Economic
Analysis for additional detail.)
  For the final rule, OSHA has analyzed the costs of compliance as a
percentage of profits, and costs as a percentage of revenues, for
firms with fewer than 20 employees in every application group. This
analysis identified significant economic impacts on a substantial
number of small entities, and the Agency has accordingly conducted a
full Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis in accordance with the
Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended in 1996. The three application
groups for which such impacts were identified were Furniture
Stripping, Polyurethane Foam Blowing, and Construction. Table VIII-6
shows the results of this analysis in detail.
  The full regulatory flexibility analysis is presented in Chapter VI
of the Final Economic and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis. The
remainder of this section briefly summarizes that analysis.
  This rule is needed to prevent cancer deaths and other illnesses, as
discussed in greater detail in the Health Effects Section (Section V
of this Preamble). Section III of this preamble, Events Leading to the
Final Standard, summarizes OSHA's efforts to assure input to this
rulemaking by affected small firms. Table VIII-6 identifies the
affected small firms by sector. OSHA estimates that a total of 56,000
small firms will be affected by this standard.

 Table VIII-6. -- Sceening Analysis of Potential Economic Impacts on
                                   Small Firms


| | Costs as a | Costs as a | Number of | percentage | percentage Application group | small | of profits | of sales |establishments| for small | for small | affected | firms | firms


Manufacture of MC..........| 0 | NA | NA Distribution/Formulation of| | | Solvents..................| 139 | 3.0% | 0.2 Metal Cleaning: | | | Cold Degreasing and | | | Other Cold Cleaning....| 9,223 | 0.9 | 0.0 Open-Top Vapor | 0 | NA | NA Degreasing | | | Conveyorized | | | Vapor Degreasing.......| 11 | 2.4 | 0.1 Semiconductors..........| 0 | NA | NA Printed Circuit Boards..| 20 | 2.0 | 0.1 Aerosol Packaging..........| 10 | 0.7 | 0.1 Paint Remover Manufacturing| 34 | 0.3 | 0.1 Paint Manufacturing........| 7 | 0.1 | 0.0 Paint Remover Use (Paint | | | Stripping): | | | Aircraft Stripping | | | (Large Firms).........| 0 | NA | NA Aircraft Stripping | | | (Small Firms).........| 75 | 4.5 | 0.1 Furniture Stripping....| 5,901 | 41.5(*)| 2.2 All Other Industrial | | | Paint Stripping.......| 25,441 | 0.8 | 0.0 Flexible Polyurethane Foam | | | Manufacturing.............| 8 | 60.3(*)| 1.7 Plastics and Adhesives | | | Manufacturing and Use.....| 498 | 1.8 | 0.1 Ink and Ink Solvent | | | Manufacturing.............| 3 | NA | NA Ink Solvent Use............| 5,395 | 0.1 | 0.1 Pesticide Manufacturing and| | | Formulation...............| 40 | 6.6 | 0.2 Pharmaceutical | | | Manufacturing.............| 0 | NA | NA Solvent Recovery...........| 17 | 2.7 | 0.1 Film Base..................| 0 | NA | NA Polycarbonates.............| 0 | NA | NA Construction...............| 9,085 | 19.9(*)| 0.5 Shipyards..................| 0 | NA | NA All Application groups.....| 55,908 | 8.2 | 0.3


NA = No small firms in this application group. Footnote(*) These relatively high impacts on profits assume that no price increase is possible. In all three cases, price increases of 2.1 percent or less would fully restore profits. In all of these application groups, most firms will be able to increase prices to offset their regulatory costs. In furniture stripping, a susbtantial portion of the market is for antique refinishing that involves MC use, a service which is relatively price insensitive. Soft flexible foam of the kind MC is used to make is an essential material in the construction of cushions of all types. In the construction sector, MC based paint stripping and foam blowing are essential operations of many of the jobs in which they are used.

Sources: CONSAD; Dun & Bradstreet; Office of Regulatory Analysis, OSHA, Department of Labor.


The Summary and Explanation section of this preamble provides a description of the compliance requirements associated with this rule, and a paperwork burden analysis of the record keeping requirements is provided in the Collection of Information Request for Comment section at the beginning of this preamble. Based on comments regarding anticipated effects on small businesses, OSHA has reduced the final rule's overall paperwork requirements from those proposed and has refined some paperwork requirements to simplify compliance for small entities.

OSHA considered numerous regulatory alternatives and modifications to the requirements of the proposed standard (ranging from higher PELs, to 40-hour rather than 8-hour time weighted average exposure limits, to delayed implementation dates) that commenters believed might minimize significant economic impacts on small businesses. OSHA rejected those alternatives that clearly decreased the safety of workers in small establishments, but the Agency also adopted many regulatory changes that will improve small employers' ability to provide their employees with the same level of protection as that afforded workers in larger establishments. As explained more fully in the Final Economic Analysis and summarized in Table VIII-7, the final standard contains delayed implementation dates, reduced paperwork requirements, streamlined medical surveillance provisions and other accommodations that, in the Agency's judgment, will minimize any significant economic impacts of the standard on small employers to the extent necessary to enable them to meet the standard's protective goals.

 Table VIII-7. Changes Made Since the Proposed Regulation To Reduce
                 the Final Standard's Impacts on Small Businesses
 Change to proposed regulation     |     Impact on small businesses
Firms with fewer than 20 employees | More performance oriented and
 given 3 years (rather than 1) to  |  flexible, reduces costs to
 achieve PEL using engineering     |  small businesses in first two
 controls.                         |  years by 30 to 40%, allows
                                   |  small businesses time to plan
                                   |  major expenditures.
Allows the use of licensed health  | Provides greater flexibility.
 care professionals in addition to |
 physicians for medical            |
 surveillance.                     |
Laboratory tests are at the        | Reduces costs of medical
 discretion of physician rather    |  surveillance by more than 14
 than automatically required.      |  percent, more performance
                                   |  oriented.
Employees under 45 are required to | Reduces costs of medical
 have a physical every three years |  surveillance by 30 percent.
 rather than annually.             |
Respirators required in regulated  | Decreases respirator use and
 areas only when PEL is likely to  |  costs for small business.
 to be exceeded.                   |
If MC is used less than 30 days per| Significantly reduces costs of
 year, monitoring may be conducted |  monitoring for establishments
 with direct reading instruments.  |  making limited use of MC; this
                                   |  provision will be especially
                                   |  helpful in construction.
Written compliance plans are no    | Reduces paperwork.
 longer required.................  |
Hazard communication requirements  | Reduces paperwork and costs.
 do not go beyond what is already  |
 required by hazard communication  |
 standard.                         |
Employee re-training only as needed| More performance oriented,
 rather than annually.             |  reduces costs of training 80
                                   |  percent.
Simplified recordkeeping for small | Reduces paperwork.
 businesses for exposure monitoring|
 data.                             |

[62 FR 1494, January 10, 1997]

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