OSHA Announces Final Rule to Protect American Workers from Silica Dust

March 24, 2016
Contact: 
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – March 24, 2016) Environmental Defense Fund praised the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today for finalizing a new rule to protect American workers from silica dust.

“Silica dust is a particularly dangerous pollutant linked to serious diseases and premature deaths in workers across many industries. This new rule — which has literally been decades in the making — will finally lead to significant reductions in workers’ exposures,” said Richard Denison, an EDF Lead Senior Scientist. “We thank and congratulate OSHA on finalizing these vitally important new standards.” 

Silica dust causes lung cancer, silicosis, and other serious health problems. More than two million Americans are at risk of exposure while at their jobs, including workers in construction, foundries and hydraulic fracturing.

Today, OSHA announced a final rule to protect those workers. The new rule replaces much weaker standards set more than half a century ago.

OSHA estimates that the new rule will save more than 600 lives and prevent 900 new cases of silicosis each year, once it is fully in place.

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