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Group Says Goal Driving the New Level Could Be Achieved By Enforcing Existing Standard

WASHINGTON (March 25, 2016) - The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) finalized a workplace exposure standard for crystalline silica that would, among other things, sharply reduce the existing permissible exposure limit (PEL) for quartz. In response to this development, the American Chemistry Council's Crystalline Silica Panel released the following statement.

"We are committed to the prevention of adverse health effects associated with the inhalation of crystalline silica, but we do not believe that reducing the existing PEL for crystalline silica is the best way to address these concerns.

"The best available science and data gathered over more than four decades show that the current OSHA PEL for quartz of 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air is an appropriate limit to protect against silica-related disease in general industry, provided it is adhered to strictly.

"It's worth noting that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that silicosis mortality fell by more than 90 percent from 1968 to 2010, despite the fact that actual exposures still exceed the current PEL in more than 30 percent of the samples taken by OSHA inspectors. This shows that achieving full compliance with, and enforcement of, the current general industry PEL for quartz is the best and most cost-effective way to protect silica-exposed workers.

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