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Department of Labor (DOL) Prerule Stage
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)



1814. OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM (PREVENTING OCCUPATIONAL ILLNESS: CHROMIUM)

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

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 CrVI. 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 CrVI compounds to 0.5 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug/m3) as an eight-hour, time-weighted average (TWA). The current PEL in general industry is a ceiling value of 100 ug/m3, measured as CrVI and reported as chromic anhydride (CrO3). The amount of CrVI in the anhydride compound equates to a PEL of 52 ug/m3. This ceiling limit applies to all forms of CrVI, including chromic acid and chromates, lead chromate, and zinc chromate. The current PEL for CrVI in the construction industry is 100 ug/m3 as a TWA PEL, which also equates to a PEL of 52 ug/m3. After reviewing the petition, OSHA denied the request for an ETS and initiated a section 6(b)(5) rulemaking.

OSHA began collecting data and performing preliminary analyses relevant to occupational exposure to CrVI. However, in 1997, OSHA was sued by HRG for unreasonable delay in issuing a final CrVI standard. The 3rd Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in OSHA's favor and the Agency continued its data collection and analytic efforts on CrVI. In 2002, OSHA was sued again by HRG for continued unreasonable delay in issuing a final CrVI standard. In August, 2002 OSHA published a Request for Information on CrVI to solicit additional information on key issues related to controlling exposures to CrVI and on December 4, 2002 OSHA announced its intent to proceed with developing a proposed standard. On December 24, 2002, the 3rd Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of HRG and ordered the Agency to proceed expeditiously with a CrVI standard.

The major illnesses associated with occupational exposure to CrVI are lung cancer and dermatoses. OSHA estimates that approximately one million workers are exposed to CrVI on a regular basis in all industries. The major uses of CrVI are: as a structural and anti-corrosive element in the production of stainless steel, ferrochromium, iron and steel, and in electroplating, welding and painting.


Timetable:

Action Date  

Request for Information 08/22/02 67 FR 54389
Comment Period End 11/20/02  
Initiate SBREFA Process 01/00/04  


Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Yes

Small Entities Affected: Businesses

Government Levels Affected: Undetermined

Agency Contact: Steven F. Witt, Director, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-3718, FP Building, Washington, DC 20210
Phone: 202 693-1950
Fax: 202 693-1678

RIN: 1218-AB45

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