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CDC supports metalcasting industry's silicosis assertions.

The metalcasting industry's contentions that deaths attributed to silicosis (CDC).

In the April 29 "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report," the CDC said that of the 74 million death certificates issued from 1968-2002, silicosis was recorded as the underlying or contributing cause of 16,305 deaths. The agency reported that the number of annual silicosis deaths decreased from 1,157 in 1968 to 148 in 2002.

The report listed two likely reasons for the decline. First, many of the deaths in the early part of the study occurred among people whose main exposure probably occurred before the introduction of national compliance standards. Second, employment in industries where silica exposures are prevalent has declined.

OSHA has made the reduction of silica exposure one of its priorities. Under U.S. law, OSHA is required to convene a small business panel when it decides to circulate a regulation that would have a significant impact on small business. In November 2003, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel process was triggered as a result of OSHA's draft proposal to lower the current permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air (mg/[m.sup.3]) to 75mg/[m.sup.3] or 50 mg/[m.sup.3].

Jack Pohlman, TPI, Buffalo, N.Y.; Ron Pomeroy, Kansas Castings Inc., Belle Plaine, Kan.; Leonard Potter, Littlestown Foundry Co., Littlestown, Pa.; and Louis J. Iannettoni, Meloon Foundries Inc., Syracuse, N.Y., spoke on behalf of the industry during the SBREFA hearing. After the hearing, the panel suggested "OSHA give consideration to the alternative of improved enforcement of, and expanded outreach for, the existing rule rather than a new rule."

OSHA continues to pursue action on silica exposure but the matter is a long way from being resolved. Jonathon Snare, acting assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, recently stated that a proposal was a year or two away from being developed.
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Title Annotation:WASHINGTON ALERT; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Comment:CDC supports metalcasting industry's silicosis assertions.(WASHINGTON ALERT)(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention )
Publication:Modern Casting
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2005
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