OSHA to stakeholders: Which PELs should be updated first?

August 19, 2010

OSHA this week announced it is seeking input from stakeholders on which chemicals should receive priority for updating permissible exposure limits.

Noting many PELs are based on science that is nearly 60 years old and are inadequate to protect today's workers, OSHA administrator David Michaels asked for help in identifying chemicals to focus on. "We must assure the protection of workers currently exposed to well-recognized chemical hazards for which we have an inadequate PEL or no PEL at all," Michaels said in a press release.

In the first two years of OSHA's existence, the agency established 400 PELs, according to the agency. Since then, OSHA has established PELs for only 29 chemicals, and most PELs have remained unchanged despite NIOSH and consensus organizations strengthening their own recommended exposure limits.

Chemical nominations are being accepted until Aug. 27.