OSHA Vinyl Chloride Standard

OSHA Vinyl Chloride Standard

Limits the amount of permissible exposure time over the course of a typical eight hour shift (dropping from 500 parts per million [ppm] to 1 ppm). OSHA anticipated that the standard could be met by proactively limiting leaks and unintentional emissions, mechanizing particularly dangerous aspects of the process, restructuring facility designs, and generally improving ventilation systems (new technologies also allowed businesses to end the manual cleaning of reactors, a practice which was exactly as dangerous as it sounds). Regular medical surveillance and exposure monitoring are also required by the standard, along with hazard labeling where appropriate.

Cry Wolf Quotes

Rulemaking should not be based on conditions that existed in the past, but should be based on conditions as they exist now...we believe a temporary emergency standard would result in polarization rather than constructive definition of areas of concern and constructive problem solving.

Dow Chemical’s representative at the initial fact-finding hearing.

It is the firm opinion of technical experts in our engineering and production departments that we could not continue to operate our plants and contemporaneously meet the proposed OSHA standard of ‘no detectable level’ of vinyl chloride.

Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation representative, Raymond J. Abramowitz.

[M]uch of the scientific data obtained by researchers to date is inconclusive….misplaced reliance on mere suspicions rather than proven data, or precipitous and emotional reaction to such incomplete information…could lead to major economic consequences.

Jerome Heckman, general counsel of the Society of the Plastics Industry.

The [vinyl chloride standard would be the] tip of an enormous regulatory iceberg….If government allows workers to be exposed to the gas, some of them may die. If it eliminates all exposure a valuable industry may disappear.

Paul H. Weaver, Fortune Magazine.


Backgrounders & Briefs

Gauging Control Technology and Regulatory Impacts in Occupational Safety and Health

Information on multiple OSHA regulations and their costs. In almost every case, the regulations were far cheaper than the agency estimated.