Bookmark and Share



» Access to Courts and Court Remedies

» Campaign Finance and Election Laws

» Constitutional Rights and Requirements

» Health, Safety, and Environment

» Open Government and Open Courts

» Representing Consumers

» Workers' Rights

Currently Featured Topics

Government Transparency
Consumer Justice
First Amendment
Health, Safety and the Environment


Read about our work helping lawyers
with cases in the Supreme Court.


  Public Citizen | Litigation Cases ***Search other cases***

Public Citizen and United Steelworkers v. OSHA

Topic(s): Hazardous Substances and Environmental Protection
Docket: 06-1818



Public Citizen and the United Steelworkers challenged an OSHA rule setting a new standard for workplace exposure to the carcinogenic chemical hexavalent chromium. The rule was issued as a result of a previous lawsuit by Public Citizen and PACE International Union challenging OSHA’s unreasonable delay in updating the standard. Although the rulemaking improved the standard considerably, it unlawfully left workers exposed to substantial risks of lung cancer because OSHA failed to set a standard as low as its own rulemaking record indicated was necessary.

A number of industry groups also challenged the standard as too high, but most ultimately withdrew their challenges.

The cases were briefed and argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. On February 23, 2009, the court issued its decision. See 557 F.3d 165. The court upheld the rule in most respects, finding that a lower standard would be infeasible for significant industrial operations affected by the rule and that OSHA was justified in setting a uniform standard that all industries affected could achieve, even though that standard left significant risks in place and many industries could achieve a more protective standard. The court did, however, rule in favor of our argument that one provision of the rule, which did not require employers to make monitoring results available to employees unless they showed a violation of the standard, had not been rationally explained by the agency.

Copyright © 2017 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.


To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.