OSHA proposes revised rule on hexavalent chromium

November 9, 2004

The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium (CrVI) in the October 4, 2004 Federal Register. OSHA is proposing three separate standards that cover exposure to CrVI in general industry, construction, and shipyards. The agency is accepting public comments on the proposed standards until January 3, 2005.

OSHA is proposing to lower its permissible exposure limit (PEL) for CrVI and all its compounds in construction, shipyards, and general industry from 52 to one microgram of CrVI per cubic meter of air as an 8-hr. time weighted average. The proposed rule also includes provisions for employee protection, such as preferred methods for controlling exposure, respiratory protection, protective work clothing and equipment, hygiene areas and practices, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and recordkeeping.

CrVI compounds are used widely in the chemical industry in pigments, metal plating, and chemical synthesis as ingredients and catalysts. CrVI also can be produced when welding on stainless steel or CrVI-painted surfaces. The major health effects associated with exposure to CrVI include lung cancer, asthma, nasal septum ulcerations and perforations, skin ulcerations (or chrome holes), and allergic and irritant contact dermatitis.

Comments submitted by mail, fax, or electronically must be sent by January 3, 2005. Three copies of written comments must be sent to the Docket Office, Docket H054A, Room N-2625, OSHA, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C., 20210. Comments of 10 pages or fewer can be faxed to the OSHA Docket Office at 202-693-1648. Comments can be submitted electronically at http://ecomments.osha.gov].

For more information, visit www.osha.gov.