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search to be done when you think there are occupational health problems that aren't being adequately

Mr. TYSON. We could strongly suggest that others do it. NIOSH would be the normal-

Mr. FRANK. Have you done any of that in general in the area of long latent occupational diseases of the kind we are talking about?

Mr. Tyson. Most of those that we have done have been of those types of diseases which don't show up for a long time.

Mr. FRANK. If you could send a list of what you have done in that area of initiating the research. I would also like to suggest that from what we have heard today, a lot more has to be done with regard to these-not simply by looking at the substance and saying, "OK, what is wrong with that substance," but the broader studies of incidence and prevalence of disease.

Again, the people who you say have the responsibility for the research tell us they are not doing very much of it. So I think I would be—and I am hoping we may be recommending as a subcommittee that you use that authority you say you have, or that ability, to prod them to do some more because we are not getting enough of it.

[The information follows:]

TRANSCRIPT OF JUNE 20, 1984, HEARING

MATERIAL FOR THE RECORD

PP. 95-96:

Mr. Frank:

"Do you ever commission studies on the ground
that there is a potential occupational hazard
that we don't know enough about to regulate?
Do you ever say to someone, 'Do this. ' We
think there is a real problem, but we don't
have enough information since we are not the
research agency? Do you ever ask NIOSH or

N

Mr. Frank:

"If you could send a list of what you have
done in that area in initiating the
research..."

Response:

Data concerning adverse health effects from exposure to chemicals come to OSHA from many sources, including unions, public interest groups, industry, universities, and other government agencies. After learning that a chemical possibly poses a hazard to workers, OSHA proceeds to gather as much information as possible about the chemical. Frequently, there are large gaps in the data regarding the levels of exposure which cause disease in humans.

It is at this point that OSHA may request that research be performed on a particular substance or the agency may search existing data and literature in order to recommend protective measures.

For instance, OSHA itself developed guidelines for protecting workers from hepatitis and is preparing guidelines for the proper handling of antineoplastic drugs. In each case, OSHA used outside expertise and existing data to understand the hazards and methods of control.

OSHA has also asked the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to examine a number of substances which may be long-term hazards to workers such as ethylene oxide and benzene as it is absorbed through the skin.

Another source of research on workplace health hazards is the Department of Health and Human Services' National Toxicology Program (NTP), which conducts animal studies of chemicals thought to be hazardous to human health. OSHA actively participates in this program and has a representative on the chemical Selection Committee, which recommends which chemicals should be tested. OSHA asked the NTP to perform carcinogenicity testing on methylene chloride, and preliminary tests were recently completed.

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This is in response to your letter of July 10 asking for clarification of the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop a data-collection system for occupational illnesses, including long-latent illnesses, and to conduct any research needed to implement such a system. You have also asked a number of questions regarding Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records. I apologize for the delay in response.

Section 8 (c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires employers to maintain job safety and health records and to make them available to the Secretary of Labor or to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Act authorizes the Secretaries of Labor and HHS to prescribe by regulation such records as are "necessary or appropriate for the enforcement of this Act or for developing information regarding the causes and prevention of occupational accidents and illnesses." The Secretary of Labor has delegated to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the responsibility for "developing and maintaining an effective program of collection, compilation, analysis and publication of occupational safety and health statistics."

Under the Act, employers must record "work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses other than minor injuries requiring only first aid treatment and which do not involve medical treatment, loss of consciousness, restriction of work or motion, or transfer to another job." In the implementing regulations issued at 29 CFR 1904, employers are required to "maintain in each establishment a log and summary of all recordable occupational injuries and illnesses for that establishment." The instructions on the reverse side of the Form OSHA-200 (Log and Summary of Occupational Injuries and illnesses) contain definitions for occupational injuries and illnesses. An occupational illness is defined as

any abnormal condition or disorder (of an
employee), other than one resulting from an
occupational injury, caused by exposure to
environmental factors associated with
employment. It includes acute and chronic
illnesses or diseases which may be caused by
inhalation, absorption, ingestion, or direct
contact.

There is no question, then, that OSHA has the authority to develop a data-collection system for occupational illnesses, including long-latent illnesses. At the same time, however, it must be noted that an employer can record an illness as being work-related only when a causal connection between exposure and onset of symptoms is evident. As Secretary Raymond J. Donovan has discussed at some length in reply to your July 10 letter to him, detection and attribution of occupational causes for long-latent diseases present serious difficulties.

As to authority for OSHA itself to conduct research to implement a data-reporting system that would capture long-latent occuptionally caused illnesses, the Act gives the Department of Health and Human Services and NIOSA (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), an important role in research. Among other things, section 20 of the Act encourages OSHA to develop innovative methods for approaching and solving safety and health problems ("directly or by grants or contracts"] and to consult with HAS and NIOSH on research priorities. The Act, however, gives primary responsibility for carrying out research with respect to occupational health hazards, including developing scientific data for recommended health standards and control measures, to our sister agency in HHS, NIOSH. The problem lies not in lack of authority or in unwillingness of the Secretary to issue regulations for data-collection or to direct research studies. The problem lies in the inability of employers and employees, and ultimately the medical and scientific communities, to establish a causal relationship between long-latent illnesses and occupational exposures. You asked several questions about OSHA's authority to require employers to report the results of medical examinations and exposure samplings. Under the provisions of its substancespecific standards, OSHA has the authority to require such disclosure, both to employees and to OSHA, of the results of medical examinations and exposure samplings mandated by these. standards. Similarly, under 29 CFR 1910.20 (Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records), OSHA has the authority to require employers to disclose to employees and to OSHA the results of

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exposure sampling and medical examinations conducted voluntarily by employers. Exercise of this authority by the agency--that is, examination of employee exposure records, whether established voluntarily or in response to the requirements of substancespecific standards--is a normal part of OSHA inspections. Since the promulgation in 1980 of a regulation found at 29 CFR 1913.10, detailed procedures have been followed by OSHA compliance officers in order to gain access to employee "medical records," as defined therein. With regard to your final series of questions about OSHA's 1982 proposed modification to the regulation on Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records, this matter is currently undergoing a thorough policy review within the agency. Until this review is completed, it would be premature to comment on the specific points you raise. I can assure you, however, that as this review goes forward, we will strive to resolve these issues fairly and impartially.

I hope I have clarified the issues to your satisfaction.

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