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2016. OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM (PREVENTING OCCUPATIONAL ILLNESS: CHROMIUM)
Priority: Economically Significant. Major under 5 USC 801.
Unfunded Mandates: This action may affect the private sector under PL 104-4.
Legal Authority: 29 USC 655(b); 29 USC 657
CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910
Legal Deadline: None
Abstract: In July 1993, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was petitioned for an emergency temporary standard (ETS) to reduce the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for occupational exposures to hexavalent chromium. The Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW) and Public Citizen's Health Research Group (HRG) petitioned OSHA to promulgate an ETS to lower the PEL for chromium (CrVI) compounds to 0.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3) as an eight-hour, time-weighted average (TWA). This represents a significant reduction in the current PEL. The current PEL in general industry is found in 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z and is a ceiling value of 100 ug/m3 for "Chromic acid and chromates (as CrO3)." These are measured as chromium (VI) and reported as chromic anhydride (CrO3). The amount of chromium in the compound equates to a PEL of 52 ug/m3 of chromium (VI) measured and reported as chromium (VI). This ceiling limit applies to all forms of hexavalent chromium (VI) including chromic acid and chromates, lead chromate, and zinc chromate. The current PEL for chromium (VI) in the construction industry is 100 ug/m3 as a TWA PEL, which also equates to a PEL of 52 ug/m3. HRG and OCAW were unable to persuade the courts to impose legal deadlines on the rulemaking.
The major illnesses associated with occupational exposures to hexavalent chromium are lung cancer and dermatoses. OSHA estimates that approximately one million workers are exposed to hexavalent chromium on a regular basis in all industries. The major uses of hexavalent chromium are: as a structural and anti-corrosive element in the production of stainless steel, ferrochromium, iron and steel, and in electroplating, welding and painting. After reviewing the petition, OSHA denied the request for an ETS and initiated a section 6(b) rulemaking. Work on a proposed rule continues.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined
Government Levels Affected: Undetermined
Agency Contact: Adam Finkel, Director, Health Standards Programs,
Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 200
Constitution Avenue NW., Room N3718, FP Building, Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202 693-1950
Fax: 202 693-1678
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