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A few weeks ago I watched a documentary called The Slow Poisoning of India. The film details the impact of pesticides on the people of rural India where locals are exposed to some of the most dangerous chemicals in the world. Chemicals that are used to protect our produce from bacteria and insects end up causing cancer, genetic defects and impotency. Children die young as a result of chemically induced birth defects while men and women are reduced to a painful and inhuman existence.

The over-use of chemicals and the lack of proper safe guards are the result of corporate greed and inadequate government regulation which has left many Indians at the whim of multi-national corporations. Unfortunately, these tragic stories from the developing world are seen as common; a result of inept leadership and mercantilist economics first established during the colonial period. We are used to such tragedy in the third world. What we are not used to is that some of the same hazardous situations plague our own country.

To shed light on one of these issues in our own industry, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has just recently announced that it will be starting a national dialogue with stakeholders on ways to prevent work related illness caused by hazardous substances. For the past 40 years (since 1971 to be exact) OSHA has maintained the same PEL regulations (regulation limits on the concentration of dangerous substances in air) which has resulted in a series of outdated and backwards regulations that are in serious need of an update. To effectively update their current PEL regulations OSHA is asking for public comment on current business practices.

According to their website OSHA is looking for suggestions on how to streamline approaches for risk assessment, as well as alternative approaches for managing chemical exposures. Together we may be able to make a difference, update these outdated regulations and save lives. To participate in this national dialogue follow this link. And, if you have any further workers compensation questions please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-649-9094. We look forward to hearing from you!