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Court Rules Against Industry in Challenge to the Silica Standard

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Friday, December 22, 2017

Today, the D.C. Circuit Court rejected all the industry challenges to OSHA's new silica standard. The standard lowers the permissible exposure limit to respirable crystalline silica in the workplace. The legal challenge, led by the US Chamber of Commerce, asked the court to review five issues related to the rule including whether "substantial evidence" supported OSHA's claim that silica exposure is dangerous and whether the rule is economically and/or technically feasible for particular industries. The court rejected all of the arguments presented by the Chamber and other industry groups. 

While the court ruled against the industry challenges, it did order the Department of Labor to review and further explain the omission of a provision to allow doctors to recommend pulling exposed workers off jobs. 

To read the decision click here

Tags:  osha  Respirable Crystalline Silica  silica 

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ATSDR Draft Toxicological Profile - Silica

Posted By Mark Ellis, Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) published the long-anticipated draft toxicological profile for "silica."  A copy of the Federal Register notice in which the draft publication is referenced is attached.  ATSDR is seeking public comments and additional information or reports on studies about the health effects of four substances, including silica.  The draft toxicological profile makes clear that amorphous and crystalline silica both are addressed.  Comments on the draft must be submitted by September 11, 2017.


The draft toxicological profile for silica can be accessed on the following portal page, which includes a description of the process through which the draft currently is progressing:  The complete 370-page document can be accessed and downloaded through the following link:  The document is 11.4 MB in size.  Please go to the link to download it.

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Tags:  ATSDR  comments  silica  toxicology profile 

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Study Addresses Air Quality/Frac Sand Mining

Posted By Mark Ellis, Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Heartland Institute ( recently published a policy study of air quality and industrial sand (frac sand) mining.  Authored by Isaac Orr and Mark Krumenacher, the study is the sixth and final entry in a series of six studies published by The Heartland Institute addressing industrial sand mining.

Part 1 of the study offers an introduction to particulate matter and its health implications.  Part 2 presents the findings of several air monitoring studies conducting in recent years.  These studies used equipment and sampling methodologies approved by EPA and NIOSH.  Part 3 explains the limitations of less scientifically legitimate reports that attempt to quantify concentrations of particulate matter in areas near industrial sand operations.  While Part 2 presents studies that have concluded industrial sand mining does not generate significant quantities of respirable crystalline silica dust, Part 4 examines why that may be the case.  Part 5 offers concluding remarks.

The Heartland Institute is attached and reproduced with the permission of The Heartland Institute.

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Tags:  air quality  air quality monitoring  air quality standard  industrial sand  silica 

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IMA-NA Addresses Trump's Energy Transition Team

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, December 15, 2016

IMA-NA participated in an "Energy Listening Session" hosted by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) with senior members of the Trump Transition Team responsible for energy issues.  IMA-NA President Mark Ellis addressed the group during the oil and natural gas session.  After introducing IMA-NA, he addressed the importance of industrial minerals in the hydraulic fracturing process, referencing silica sand, barite and bentonite.  These minerals are essential components of the hydraulic fracturing itself and in the drilling muds used during well development.  He stressed the importance of infrastructure to move the mineral products to the well site and then to move the oil and gas to refineries.  Finally, he advised the transition team that local restrictions on frac sand production were an apparent end-run effort to restrict hydraulic fracturing generally and that the incoming administration should work to ensure that the mineral resources necessary to enable energy development are not unduly regulated.

Tags:  energy  frac sand  fracking  hydraulic fracturing  silica  transition team  Trump 

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NISA Sends Letter on Final Silica Rule to House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Last week the House Subcommittee on Workforce Protections held a heading on the OSHA final rule on suitable occupational exposure levels to respirable crystalline silica. As expected, the hearing broke down along partisan lines with the majority Republicans questioning whether the final rule reflected functional public policy and the minority Democrats saying it was long overdue. Both the Members and the witnesses spoke to the need to protect workers from a potential, but preventable, occupational hazard; they just differed in approach.

As follow up to the hearing, NISA sent a letter to Chairman Tim Walberg and Ranking Member Frederica Wilson to be entered into the public record of the hearing.  The letter highlights NISA and IMA-NA's steadfast position that OSHA's rule should keep the current 100 micrograms PEL but create an action level of 50 micrograms which triggers further exposure monitoring and medical surveillance.  The "NISA Solution" has been our message from the start of the rulemaking process. Our members have had tremendous success from implementing the Silicosis Prevention Program (SPP) and we wanted to ensure NISA's voice was on the Congressional record as well as the rulemaking record.

Please see the attached letter and op-ed NISA submitted to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections.

Click here to watch the hearing.  

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 Attached Files:

Tags:  comments  hearing  House  NISA  nisa solution  silica  Subcommittee on Workforce Protections 

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Mark Ellis Featured on Heartland Institute's Silica Podcast

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Tuesday, April 12, 2016

On the heels of OSHA's release of the finalized Rule on Respirable Crystalline Silica, IMA-NA and NISA's President, Mark Ellis sat down with Isaac Orr to offer insight on the rule for the Heartland Institute's Daily Podcast. Mark provided the historical context for OSHA's decision to update the rule, outlined how the rule has changed, and spoke to the impact on different industries.  Throughout the podcast Mark took the opportunity to speak to NISA's role as a leader in the industry through the proactive development of the Silicosis Prevention Program (SPP) and spoke to the ability to prevent silicosis without OSHA moving the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) to 50 micrograms. The Heartland Institute's podcast offered another opportunity to highlight the industrial sand industry's ongoing work to keep workers safe and healthy outside of OSHA's standard setting for crystalline silica. 

To listen to the podcast click here.

Tags:  IMA-NA  news  NISA  osha  regulations  silica 

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WEBINAR: Mining & EHS - A Compliance Case Study

Posted By Ariel Hill-Davis, Monday, March 28, 2016

Are you benchmarking IT systems for your Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) and Sustainability Management programs? Join us for our webinar, Mining & EHS - A Compliance Case Study, on Wednesday March 30, at 2:00 EST. Led by our Associate Member Gensuite, this webinar will feature an integrated suite of award-winning, cloud-based Web applications for compliance, operational excellence, and risk management.  Learn how to improve your EHS programs by utilizing some of the tools on the market including: intuitive interfaces, real-time data analytics and Mobile capabilities. 

The webinar will use a case study to feature EHS compliance best practices of a leading silica mining and manufacturing company. Gensuite will share practical insights into how your peers in the mining and related industries are addressing MSHA and OSHA requirements, driving accountability throughout the enterprise, and improving compliance performance through the use of web-based systems with a suite of fully-integrated and mobile-enabled compliance and risk management tools. Learn how companies such as U.S. Silica, PotashCorp, Ingersoll Rand, and General Electric are engaging employees at all levels of the organization in driving EHS performance improvements and operational efficiencies.

Click here to register

Tags:  associate member  compliance  EHS  Gensuite  msha  osha  silica  technology  webinar 

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