Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2008 11:19:51 EDT
Reply-To: NRCC6**At_Symbol_Here**AOL.COM
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: NRCC6**At_Symbol_Here**AOL.COM
Subject: Workplace Toxins update
I post the following update on workplace toxins from today's  Washington Post 
for your information, not as a political statement.
Gilbert Smith, NRCC
Democrat Vows Bill to Block 'Secret Rule' on Workplace Toxins





Saturday, July 26, 2008; Page A03  

A congressional leader pledged yesterday to introduce legislation that would  
block an eleventh-hour proposal by the Labor Department that would make it 
more  difficult to limit workers' exposure to chemicals on the job.  
Rep. _George Miller_ 
(  (D-Calif.), chairman of  the House Education and Labor 
Committee, said he is determined to stop a "secret  rule" that he described 
as a Bush administration effort to block the next  president from trying to 
regulate industry and reduce deaths and illnesses  caused by workplace toxins.  
The Labor Department has refused to discuss or release the proposal, which  
was obtained by _The Washington Post_ 
(  and detailed in a  
Wednesday article. Officials began developing the idea in September 2007 but did  
not disclose their interest as early as required. The rulemaking became known  
July 7, when a _White House_ 
(  agency noted on its Web  site that it had 
received a draft rule from Labor concerning risk assessments.  
The proposed rule would add another step to the process of setting  
regulations for workplace chemicals, requiring that the department allow a new  round 
of challenges to its staff risk assessments used to determine how much  
exposure to certain chemicals is unsafe.  
The rule could also increase the chances that future chemical regulations  
would allow workers to come into contact with higher levels of toxins on the job 
 than previously allowed. It challenges the agency's practice of setting 
limits  based on the assumption that workers stay in the same job for 45 years, 
and  recommends using industry-specific data about the much shorter periods that 
 workers generally stay with the same employer.  

Labor Department officials said criticism of the draft by public health  
scientists, unions and Democrats is speculative until the proposal is made  
-- Carol D. Leonnig 

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