EPA Withdraws Blocked Draft Chemical Rules, Access to Health Risk Information to Suffer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Sept. 6 that it is withdrawing two proposed rules regarding regulation of chemicals. The first rule would have allowed EPA to require chemical manufacturers to provide more information, both to the agency and the public, on several chemicals of particularly high health concern. The second rule would have clarified EPA’s policy regarding the ability of chemical manufacturers to claim certain chemical information as "confidential business information" (CBI).

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GAO Confirms Public Interest Group Criticisms of Controversial Poultry Inspection Rule

A report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reinforces health and safety advocates' concerns about proposed changes to poultry inspection procedures. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a controversial proposed rule to shift responsibility for inspections away from agency inspectors to employees of the slaughter and processing plants. Despite calls to address serious food and worker safety concerns, the agency plans to finalize the rule this year. GAO's new report identifies limitations in the data used to justify the rule and casts further doubt on USDA's decision to advance a fatally flawed proposal.

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Mine Safety Agency Ready to Finalize Black Lung Controls Pending White House Review

The U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) recently submitted for White House review a final rule to protect coal miners from black lung disease. Black lung, or coal workers' pneumoconiosis, is a preventable but often deadly occupational disease contracted by prolonged inhalation of coal mine dust.

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Proposed Rule to Protect Workers Released for Public Comment

On Friday, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a long-delayed proposed rule to lower worker exposure to crystalline silica. Silica dust can be deadly; it kills hundreds of workers every year and sickens thousands more. Now, after more than a decade and a half in development and over two years of review, the proposal has been released and will soon be ready for public comment.

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A Misleading Report Obscures Sequestration's Impact on Regulators' Budgets

Last month, university-based researchers Susan Dudley and Melinda Warren released a highly misleading report claiming sequestration has not had much impact on the overall budgets of federal regulatory agencies.

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Almost 4,400 Workers Died From Job-Related Injuries in 2012

An estimated 4,383 employees died from injuries sustained while working, according to new preliminary data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today. This is a reduction from last year’s tally of 4,693. It is also a decrease in in the fatal work injury rate from 3.5 per 100,000 full time workers in 2011 to 3.2 per 100,000 in 2012. The numbers are often revised upwards, and revisions will be released in spring 2014.

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Product Safety Law Gets the Lead (and Other Things) Out

Thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), toys and other children’s products are safer. Five years ago, the critical law set strict standards to protect children from exposure to lead and other harmful chemicals. These standards are crucial to ensuring that children’s products are safe and free of dangerous toxins.

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House Subpoenas Personal Medical Information in Continued Assault on Clean Air Policies

On Aug. 2, the House Science Committee issued a subpoena demanding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) release all underlying data and personal medical information from two crucial studies the agency has relied on in setting air quality standards since 1997.

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Five Important Reasons to Share and Gather Data on SaferProducts.gov

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), which provided a long overdue upgrade of critical safety protections for consumer products. The CPSIA revitalized the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and created the publicly available safety incident online database, better known as www.SaferProducts.gov.

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New Gluten-Free Standards Highlight Triumphs and Challenges at the FDA

Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released final standards that manufacturers must meet before labeling their food products “gluten free.” According to the new rules, a food product must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten before a producer can label and advertise the product as being without gluten.

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