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Unified Agenda - Table of Contents


Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant

Legal Authority: 29 USC 655(b)

CFR Citation: 29 CFR 1910.1043(n)

Legal Deadline: None

Abstract: OSHA has completed a Lookback Review of the Cotton Dust Standard pursuant to Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and Section 5 of Executive Order 12866. As part of that review OSHA requested public comments (63 FR 32140, June 22, 1998) and held two public meetings. During that review commenters representing the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Washed Cotton Task Force, and industry and union representatives on the task force recommended that OSHA expand the washed cotton partial exemption that appears in the cotton dust standard.

Raw cotton washed according to certain protocols creates a much lower risk of byssinosis, and the current cotton dust standard at 29 CFR 1910.1043(n) provides a partial exemption from the standard for such washed cotton. The Washed Cotton Task Force, made up of representatives of government, industry and unions, has sponsored research which demonstrates that cotton washed pursuant to an additional process, batch kier washing following a specific protocol, also creates a much lower risk of byssinosis.

One of the purposes of a Lookback Review is to streamline regulation when that is appropriate based on experience or new science. Expanding the washed cotton partial exemption is supported by new science and is supported by the affected community. Accordingly, OSHA has issued a direct final rule to expand the partial exemption from the cotton dust standard to batch kier washed in accordance with the protocol recommended by the Task Force. OSHA received no negative comments during the 60-day comment period. The agency has issued a notice to that effect and the rule was effective on April 6, 2001.


Action Date FR Cite

Direct Final Rule
Confirmation of Direct Final Rule Effective Date
Direct Final Rule Effective

65 FR 76598
66 FR 18191

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No

Small Entities Affected: Businesses

Government Levels Affected: None

Additional Information: Will permit cotton textile mills, many of which are small businesses pursuant to the SBA definition, to choose an option which will reduce their costs to comply with OSHA's cotton dust standard.

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-AB90

Unified Agenda - Table of Contents

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