California OSHA told to remove styrene from its agenda

CHICAGO – The California OSHA Air Contaminants Advisory Committee
(ACAC), which has been working on a draft regulation to lower the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for styrene, has been ordered to remove styrene from its agenda by the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), according to a National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) press release.

This action was announced following strong lobbying efforts by the NMMA, the American Composite Manufacturers Association (ACMA) and the Styrene Information & Research Center, NMMA said.

“The ACAC had been deliberating secretly for almost a year on the styrene PEL issue without notifying the industry of their intentions,” NMMA director of environmental & safety compliance John McKnight said. “With no industry knowledge to assess the technical and economical feasibility of lowering the styrene PEL, boat builders would have been put at a tremendous disadvantage and may not have been technologically capable of meeting the stringent demands, which potentially could have been as low as one or two parts per billion.”

CAL OSHA is considering the establishment of an ad hoc committee composed of industry, department officials and scientists, according to NMMA. The new committee would represent a more holistic view of styrene considering the feasibility of achieving a particular exposure level as required in Section 144.6 of the California Labor Code. NMMA has notified CAL OSHA that it will participate as a committee member if and when the group is assembled, the release said.

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