Beryllium

Advocacy group urges OMB to complete review of beryllium rule

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Washington – Watchdog group Public Citizen is urging the Office of Management and Budget to complete a review of OSHA’s proposed standard on beryllium and open the rule for public comment.

The proposed rule has been under review since Sept. 4. OMB is required to complete reviews within 90 days, but that deadline can be extended under certain circumstances.

In a May 5 statement, Public Citizen called on OMB to finish the review, which would allow OSHA to publish the proposal and give stakeholders an opportunity to review and comment on it.

In 1999 and 2001, OSHA denied petitions from Public Citizen and other organizations for an emergency temporary standard on permissible exposure limits for beryllium. Instead, the agency began gathering information on beryllium’s toxicity and, in 2002, published a Request for Information for additional input.

Beryllium is a naturally occurring, lightweight metal used in many industries, including telecommunications and automotive electronics. NIOSH describes the metal as combustible and explosive, and OSHA has warned that inhaling beryllium dust or fumes may lead to chronic lung disease.