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Safety Advocates Support New Silica Rule At Hearing In Washington D.C.

energy worker
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Dan Neal, Executive Director of the Equality State Policy Center, was in Washington D.C. Tuesday to testify at a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hearing on the dangers to workers who are exposed to silica dust.

According to experts from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), exposure to silica dust, can lead to silicosis, lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis, airways diseases, and autoimmune disorders. Neal’s testimony focused on silica exposure during hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

Neal said NIOSH did a study of hydraulic fracturing and found that workers were sometimes exposed to silica at levels well above ten times the recommended permissible exposure limit. He said that level was double what the proposed rule would allow.

Neal was part of a group organized by the National Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health. OSHA is hearing testimony about a proposed new regulation, which would limit exposure of workers to silica dust. the OSHA hearings will continue through Friday April 4th at the at the U.S. Deparment of Labor.

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