The Cal/OSHA lead standards are based on lead toxicity information that is now over 30 years old. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has recently made a recommendation to Cal/OSHA for a new Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) based on the low level health effects literature and modeling of the relationship between air lead levels and blood lead levels. For more information:
Recommended Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for Lead (PDF) – CDPH letter to Cal/OSHA
Estimating Workplace Air and Worker Blood Lead Concentration using an Updated Physiologically-based Pharmacokinetic (PBPK) Model (PDF) – Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), Cal/EPA (California Environmental Protection Agency)
Health professional summary (PDF) | General public summary (PDF)
Recommendations for improving the Cal/OSHA Lead Standards – web page with all CDPH recommendations, background information, and Cal/OSHA Advisory Committee meeting link
Workers who disturb soil containing the Coccidioides immitis fungus and work in dusty outdoor areas are at risk for Valley Fever. Over 1000 Californians are hospitalized with this illness every year. About eight of every 100 people hospitalized with it die from the infection annually. Yet workplace health and safety plans often do not even mention Valley Fever, despite the fact that the illness can be disabling or fatal. Workers can be protected against this disease by the use of dust control measures and appropriate personal protective equipment. Now OHB has a web page featuring our prevention materials.
Preventing work-related Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) – Web page
Preventing worker deaths from methylene chloride
Methylene chloride (dichloromethane) is a widely used solvent that can cause serious illness or death when used in enclosed spaces. It is a cancer-causing chemical used in paint strippers, in the production of polymer foams and as a degreaser. OHB investigated the deaths of two California workers due to methylene chloride overexposure. Now OHB is launching a web page on preventing worker deaths from paint strippers containing methylene chloride.
Preventing worker deaths from paint strippers containing methylene chloride – Safer alternatives web page
Occupational Health Branch home page
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