Biden EPA’s Plans to Overhaul TSCA Chemical Assessments Sparks Debate Over PPE Use

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The EPA has announced that it intends to reconsider Trump-Era assumptions on worker’s use of personal protective equipment (PPE) when conducting TSCA chemical safety evaluations.  Under the Trump-Era policy, the EPA assumed workers will follow workplace-safety mandates to wear PPE when gauging chemical exposure risk pursuant to TSCA mandated chemical assessments.  The EPA is now considering whether this assumption is reasonable, and whether the TSCA safety evaluations should consider that PPE guidelines and recommendations may not always be followed.  Critics of the more stringent approach being considered by the EPA have argued that if the EPA reaches its own conclusions on whether workers are using protective gear, or if that gear is helpful, it could end up setting requirements that conflict with OSHA’s own workplace safety rules.  The EPA has downplayed those claims stating that they intend to avoid redundant rules, and that, if a risk evaluation finds that following current OSHA standards is enough to mitigate risk to workers, then the TSCA rule will incorporate the OSHA standard.

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