Chlorpyrifos and n-Hexane Considered for Listing as Developmental Toxins

November 20, 2017

Chlorpyrifos and n-hexane will be considered for possible listing by California’s Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) at its next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, November 29, 2017 beginning at 10 a.m. at the California EPA, located at 1001 I Street in Sacramento.  Chlorpyrifos will be considered for possible listing based on the developmental toxicity endpoint.  

n-Hexane will be considered for possible listing based on the developmental, male and female reproductive toxicity endpoints.

Chlorpyrifos was previously considered by the DARTIC in 2008, but was not added to the Proposition 65 list at that time.  Substantial new, relevant data on developmental toxicity have become available since the chemical was previously considered for listing.

This meeting will be webcast: The URL for the webcast (not active until the day and time of the meeting) is: https://video.calepa.ca.gov/

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Worker Injuries and Illnesses Remain at Low Level

The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) has posted California’s 2016 occupational injury and illness data on employer-reported injuries. According to the estimates provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII), California’s overall incidence rate of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses remains steady at 3.7 cases per 100 workers for full time employees, the lowest rate in over a decade. The data posted includes detailed case and demographic tables, as well as a summary of findings by DIR’s research team.

“California continues to use research like this survey to refine and strengthen workplace safety and health regulations, training materials, and outreach and education efforts for employers and workers,” said DIR Director Christine Baker.

The estimates show there were approximately 466,600 nonfatal reportable job related injuries and illnesses in 2016, with 78% occurring in private industry and 22% in state and local government sectors.

The statewide all industry rate of lost time cases (referred to in the survey as “days away from work, job transfer or restriction” [DART] cases), remained constant at 2.2 cases per 100 full time workers over the last four years surveyed, while the rate of days away from work cases (DAFW) has remained unchanged for the last eight years.

By occupation, the highest DAFW rates were highest in 2016 for cleaning and maintenance workers (284 cases per 10,000 workers), those performing installation and repairs (252 cases), and construction (243 cases).

Estimates for the California Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses are derived from a statistical sample of employers in the state. The SOII program is administered by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in cooperation with participating state agencies.

Surveyed employers report data as required by the OSHA Recordkeeping regulation (29 CFR 1904), using the OSHA 300 Log.

Tertiary-Butyl Acetate Inhalation Cancer Unit Risk Factor Revised Document Released

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is releasing a revised draft document summarizing the carcinogenicity and derivation of an inhalation cancer unit risk factor (IUR) for tertiary-Butyl Acetate (TBAc).  Inhalation cancer unit risk factors are used to estimate lifetime cancer risks associated with inhalation exposure to a carcinogen. This document will be reviewed and discussed by the Scientific Review Panel on Toxic Air Contaminants (SRP) at its meeting on December 13, 2017 in Sacramento, CA.

OEHHA is required to develop guidelines for conducting health risk assessments under the Air Toxics Hot Spots Program (Health and Safety Code Section 44360(b)(2)). In response to this statutory requirement, OEHHA develops URFs for many air pollutants. The TBAc URF was developed using the most recent “Air Toxics Hot Spots Program Technical Support Document for Cancer Potency Factors,” finalized by OEHHA in 2009. 

A draft of the TBAc IUR document was reviewed by the SRP at its meeting on December 14, 2016.  The TBAc IUR document was revised in response to comments made by the SRP at that meeting. The values proposed in the current document version are as follows:

  • Unit Risk Factor            1.3 x 10-6 (µg/m3)-1
  • Inhalation Slope Factor 4.7 x 10-6 (mg/kg-day)-1
  • Oral Slope Factor          5.0 x 10-3 (mg/kg-day)-1

 

The agency is not seeking further comments from the public on the draft document. Inquiries may be directed to:

Dr. John Budroe

Chief, Air Toxicology and Risk Assessment Section

Air, Community, and Environmental Research Branch

Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment

1515 Clay Street, 16th Floor

Oakland, CA, 94612

John.Budroe@oehha.ca.gov

510-622-3145

Information about dates and agenda for meetings of the Scientific Review Panel can be obtained from the California Air Resources Board web page at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/srp/srp.htm.

Owner and Contractor Fined over $6,000 for Asbestos Violations

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined an unlicensed contractor who performed an asbestos abatement at a vacant commercial building on Grant Street and the two people who hired him.

DEQ fined David Cameron Gillott and Laura Lee Gillott $3,605 for failing to hire a licensed asbestos abatement contractor to perform the asbestos abatement that took place during demolition work.

DEQ also fined the contractor who did the work, Eric John Frazier, doing business as Frazier Construction Company, $2,800 for performing asbestos abatement without a license from DEQ.

The Gillotts, who also failed to have an accredited inspector survey the building for asbestos material before work started, hired Frazier to demolish the building. Vinyl flooring in the building contained asbestos.

Contractors who handle asbestos must be properly trained and licensed. The removal didn't comply with state asbestos regulations and likely caused the release of asbestos fibers in the air. Asbestos fibers are a respiratory hazard proven to cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestos is a danger to public health and a hazardous air contaminant for which there is no known safe level of exposure.

Enbridge Must Account for Condition of Line 5 Pipeline Next Month

The State of Michigan recently called on Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. to give the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) a full accounting of the status of the Line 5 pipeline in light of new information released by Enbridge that additional coating gaps were discovered during the company’s most recent inspection of the dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge must give the presentation at the PSAB’s meeting December 11 in Lansing about all the findings it has made about the pipeline’s condition, that of its protective coating and anchors, and the results of its video inspections, automated in-line tests, and recent hydrostat and biota testing.

The new information comes after the State requested inspections of each of the anchor locations following initial reports of coating gaps. Those inspections have been completed at 48 of 128 locations, and a majority of those 48 areas have gaps, Enbridge told the state.

“This is very troubling and points out exactly why the state has been vigilant about getting information from Enbridge,” said Heidi Grether, Director of the Department of Environmental Quality and co-chair of the PSAB. "It is essential that we get adequate and accurate information from Enbridge to allow the State to continue our pursuit of protecting the Great Lakes."

Besides ordering the presentation, the State said it will bring on additional technical expertise to evaluate the information Enbridge is to provide about the condition of the pipeline that was built in 1953. A 4.5-mile section of the line from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario, runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac within an easement issued in 1953 by the State of Michigan.

 “A year ago, Enbridge said there were no coating gaps in the Straits pipeline. Now, there are dozens. When will we know the full accounting of what Enbridge knows about Line 5?” said Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy and co-chair of the PSAB. “I sincerely hope there are no more surprises when Enbridge gives their presentation to the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board in December. We and the people of Michigan deserve nothing less, and the State will be bringing on additional experts to examine Enbridge’s information and challenge it where necessary.”

The latest Enbridge information comes just a week before the State is to release on Nov. 20 the final version of the Line 5 Alternatives Analysis report. Developed by independent contractor Dynamic Risk, the report studies what options are available for transporting the 540,000 barrels a day of light crude oil and natural gas liquids that run through Line 5. 

Three public feedback sessions have been scheduled after the Alternative Analysis’ release:

  • Wednesday, December 6, in Taylor, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Heinz C. Prechter Educational and Performing Arts Center, Wayne County Community College District, Downriver Campus, 21000 Northline Road.
  • Tuesday, December 12, in St. Ignace, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Little Bear Arena & Community Center, 275 Marquette St.
  • Wednesday, December 13, in Traverse City, beginning at 6 p.m., West Bay Beach Holiday Inn Resort, Leelanau Banquet Rooms, 615 E. Front St.

 

The report will be posted on the PSAB website and the public will have 30 days to make comments online about what the State should do regarding the future of Line 5. The December 22 deadline for comments includes two additional days to account for the Thanksgiving state holidays during the comment period. Comments can also be mailed to: Department of Environmental Quality, Attn: Line 5 Alternatives Analysis, P.O. Box 30473, Lansing, MI 48909-7973.

Dr. Guy Meadows, a professor at Michigan Technological University who is in talks with the state to perform a risk analysis of the pipeline, will also be asked to include information contained in today’s revelations in his report, which is expected to be completed next summer.

The PSAB’s next quarterly meeting is from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. December 11 at the Causeway Bay Lansing Hotel and Convention Center, Ballrooms F-J, 6820 S. Cedar St., Lansing.

The State will use the information from the Enbridge presentation, the Alternatives and Risk studies, and the outside expert review to ensure the informational basis for any decision about the future of Line 5 is robust and complete.

American Service Group Awarded INSHARP Recognition

American Service Group (ASG), located in Rockport, Indiana, achieved certification in the Indiana Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (INSHARP). A federal OSHA correlated program, INSHARP participants are model, small Hoosier employers who commit to the safety and health of their workers.

“The Indiana Department of Labor is pleased to certify this worksite for their success in keeping workplace injuries and illnesses at a minimum,” said Commissioner of Labor Rick Ruble. “American Service Group is very deserving of this recognition in the INSHARP program.”

ASG is an employer of 16 workers who perform work processes, including installation, service, and sales of temporary and permanent elevators, as well as elevator parts. As of January 2016, the facility is enrolled in the Certified Elevator Technician Program, which assures competent employees for performing services.

A fairly young company, ASG was formed in September 1996 and incorporated in 2000. The

company moved to its new, central location of Rockport in January 2016.

For the past three calendar years, ASG only had one OSHA-recordable injury or illness. The

company’s three-year average Total Recordable Case Rate of 1.5 is less than half the national

average of 3.1.

Suterra LLC Recognized for Top Safety and Health

Oregon OSHA has announced that Suterra, LLC, has graduated from the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

SHARP provides an incentive for Oregon employers to work with their employees to find and correct hazards, develop and implement effective safety and health programs, and continuously improve. The program encourages employers to become self-sufficient in managing workplace safety and health issues. Currently, about 23 employer locations in Oregon participate in SHARP. That's in addition to about 157 employers that have graduated from the program. An employer becomes a graduate when it completes five years of SHARP.

With 70 employees at the Bend facility, Suterra, LLC, is a leading provider of bio-rational products for crop protection and commercial pest control in Bend, OR. Through international product sales, the company works to help growers reduce their use of traditional insecticides.

The SHARP program helped the company take a fresh look at its policies and processes, and reinforced the company's ongoing efforts to improve safety, according to Aman Khapoya, vice president of global operations for Suterra.

The recognition that comes with being a SHARP company also serves as a valuable tool to recruit new employees, Khapoya said. “As our business grows and we compete for new talent, we hope candidates see our achievements under the SHARP program and realize that we are truly committed to the health and safety of our team,” he said. “The candidates for whom that safety commitment is important are precisely the ones we want—and the ones we will need to make Suterra even better.”

Oregon employers that have been in business for more than one year are eligible to apply for SHARP, regardless of size or type of business, although the program is primarily designed to help small and mid-size businesses.

Tampa Electric and Critical Intervention Services Cited for Ammonia Release

OSHA cited Tampa Electric Co. and Critical Intervention Services, a security services provider, for $43,458 in total proposed penalties, following a release of anhydrous ammonia – a chemical refrigerant – at its Gibsonton, FL facility.

On May 23, 2017, OSHA responded to the incident and determined that the ammonia release occurred when a relief valve activated after a pipeline became over pressurized. As a result, four workers were taken to the hospital for observation and released.

OSHA issued Tampa Electric two serious citations for failing to include all the minimum requirements in their emergency response plan and not ensuring employees exposed to hazardous substances wore appropriate respiratory protection. The Agency also issued the power company a Hazard Alert Letter with recommendations to mitigate asphyxiation hazards.

The investigation also led to citations for Critical Intervention Services, which received two serious violations for not developing or implementing a written hazard communicationprogram, and failing to provide information and training on hazardous chemicals in the workplace.

“When there is a potential hazardous chemical exposure, the emergency response plan must include all of the minimum safety and health requirements, including appropriate respiratory protection for employees,” said OSHA Area Director Les Grove, in Tampa. 

Wisconsin Corn Milling Facility Fined 1.8 Million after Fatal Grain Dust Explosion

OSHA has proposed $1,837,861 in fines against Didion Milling Inc. following a May 31, 2017, explosion that killed five workers and injured 12 others, including a 21-year-old employee who suffered a double leg amputation after being crushed by a railcar.

OSHA found that the explosion likely resulted from Didion’s failures to correct the leakage and accumulation of highly combustible grain dust throughout the facility and to properly maintain equipment to control ignition sources. OSHA cited Didion’s Cambria facility with 14 willful – including eight willful per-instance egregious– and five serious citations, most involving fire and explosion hazards. The company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program 

“Didion Milling could have prevented this tragedy if it had addressed hazards that are well-known in this industry,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Ken Nishiyama Atha, in Chicago. “Instead, their disregard for the law led to an explosion that claimed the lives of workers, and heartbreak for their families and the community.”

The egregious willful citations were issued for violating OSHA’s Grain Handling standard by failing to perform required maintenance on operating equipment and implementing a housekeeping program to control dust accumulations. Willful citations were issued for failure to shut down ignition sources, prevent static electricity discharge, provide adequate personal protective equipment to employees, correct malfunctioning dust collection systems, maintain equipment safety controls, and have an emergency alarm system. Serious citations addressed hazards associated with fires and explosions, and the lack of employee training. 

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