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2147. OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO CRYSTALLINE SILICA

Priority: Economically Significant. Major status under 5 USC 801 is undetermined.

Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined

Legal Authority: 29 USC 655(b); 29 USC 657

CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910; 29 CFR 1926; 29 CFR 1915; 29 CFR 1916; 29 CFR 1917; 29 CFR 1918

Legal Deadline: None

Abstract: Silica exposure remains a serious threat to nearly 2 million U.S. workers, including more than 100,000 workers in high risk jobs such as abrasive blasting, foundry work, stonecutting, rock drilling, quarry work and tunneling. The seriousness of the health hazards associated with silica exposure is demonstrated by the fatalities and disabling illnesses that continue to occur in sandblasters and rock drillers and by recent studies that demonstrate a statistically significant increase in lung cancer among silica-exposed workers. In October 1996, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified crystalline silica as "carcinogenic to humans." Exposure studies indicate that some workers are still exposed to very high levels of silica. Although OSHA currently has a permissible exposure limit for crystalline silica (10mg/m3 divided by the percent of silica in the dust + 2 respirable), more than 30 percent of OSHA-collected silica samples from 1982 through 1991 exceeded this limit. Additionally recent studies suggest that the current OSHA standard is insufficient to protect against silicosis. OSHA plans to publish a proposed rule on crystalline silica under section 6(b)(5) of the Act. The standard would protect silica-exposed workers in general industry, construction and maritime.

Timetable:

ActionDateFR Cite

NPRM 06/00/00 

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined

Agency Contact: Marthe B. Kent, Acting Director, Directorate of Health Standards Programs, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N3718, 200 Constitution Avenue NW, FP Building, Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202 693-1950
Fax: 202 693-1678

RIN: 1218-AB70


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