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Friday, June 23, 2017

The Labor Department loosens a rule on beryllium exposure

From politico.com 6/23/17
You haven’t heard of it since chemistry class, but beryllium is a chemical toxic to lung tissue. The Department of Labor took years to finalize a rule protecting workers from exposure, and didn’t issue the final version until the tail end of Obama’s presidency—January 9, to be exact. It was always at risk of removal by the Republican Congress, which could have repealed it with just a majority vote, but it survived until now.
On Friday, the Department of Labor proposed a new rule on beryllium exposure; it doesn’t change the original exposure limits imposed by Obama but instead eliminates additional safety requirements for the construction and shipyard industries, such as conducting medical surveillance or providing training for those workers who are near, but not above, the exposure limits. Labor groups slammed the change, saying that it would lead to more lung disease and cancer among workers. Industry groups applauded the changes; the original rule, they argued, was too restrictive.
The DOL must still go through a full rule-making process, so the new beryllium rule won’t be finalized for months. In the meantime, the department said it wouldn’t be enforcing the Obama-era rule.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you have ever seen anyone with berylliosis, you would not consider this change. People forget.

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