MEDIA ADVISORY: Public Citizen Experts to Testify at OSHA Hearing on Proposed Beryllium Rule

March 21, 2016

MEDIA ADVISORY: Public Citizen Experts to Testify at OSHA Hearing on Proposed Beryllium Rule

WHAT: Testimony at a hearing held by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on its proposed standard to protect workers from beryllium. Beryllium is used in many industries, including construction, metalwork, electronics manufacturing, the nuclear energy sector and laboratories that work with nuclear materials. When inhaled, it can cause lung cancer and a fatal lung condition known as chronic beryllium disease.

Two Public Citizen experts who have advocated a stronger beryllium rule will urge OSHA to apply stricter exposure limits for all workers who are routinely exposed to dangerous levels. Public Citizen’s Emily Gardner, worker health and safety advocate, and Dr. Sammy Almashat, research associate, will deliver introductory remarks for 10 minutes each, and then answer questions for up to 45 minutes posed by OSHA officials and other panelists at the hearing.

Last August, OSHA proposed an exposure limit of 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of air – nearly 14 years after Public Citizen petitioned the agency to issue stronger protections for workers exposed to toxic levels of beryllium in a variety of workplace settings. In comments submitted to the agency last November, Public Citizen urged OSHA to finalize a more stringent exposure limit for beryllium of 0.1 micrograms per cubic meter of air, in line with current scientific evidence on the dangers of beryllium, and to extend all of the rule’s protections to the 23,000 construction and shipyard workers (40 percent of all beryllium-exposed workers) exposed to beryllium in their workplaces.

WHEN: 10:25 a.m. EDT, Tuesday, March 22. (The hearing spans two days, beginning at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 21.)

WHERE: Cesar Chavez Auditorium, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

WHO: Emily Gardner, worker health and safety advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division
Dr. Sammy Almashat, research associate, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group

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