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National News Release 10-583-NAT
April 28, 2010
Contact: Diana Petterson     Jason Surbey
Phone: 202-693-1898     202-617-4644
petterson.diana@dol.gov     surbey.jason@dol.gov

US Labor Department's OSHA releases data detailing worker exposure to toxic chemicals
Also issues directive on protecting non-English speaking workers from hazards

WASHINGTON - In keeping with the president's memorandum on open government, the U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is releasing 15 years of data providing details of workplace exposure to toxic chemicals.

The data is comprised of measurements taken by OSHA compliance officers during the course of inspections. It includes exposure levels to hazardous chemicals including asbestos, benzene, beryllium, cadmium, lead, nickel, silica, and others. The data offers insights into the levels of toxic chemicals commonly found in workplaces, as well as insights into how chemical exposure levels to specific chemicals are distributed across industries, geographical areas and time.

"We believe this information, in the hands of informed, key stakeholders, will ultimately lead to a more robust and focused debate on what still needs to be done to protect workers in all sectors, especially in the chemical industry," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.

With an understanding of these data and their limitations, it can be combined with other related data to target further research into occupational hazards and illness. In addition to this raw data, OSHA will soon make available an easy to use online search tool allowing easy public access to this information. For more information, go to: http://www.osha.gov/opengov/healthsamples.html.

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