Category: Chemicals

Today’s workplace uses thousands of chemicals, many of which are hazardous. The resources in this section will help guide you in the safe and legal identification, storage, transport, and use of these chemicals, and in making sure that your employees right to know how to be safe around such substances is provided, as required by law.

Group of men working at a chemical warehouse classifying barrels

NIOSH Issues Guidance for Hazardous Substances with No Clear OEL

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released new guidance for determining the level of hazards for substances with no occupational exposure limit (OEL) established by a government agency, by a standard-setting body, or in peer-reviewed literature.

Chemical plant workers, piping

CSB Cites Chain of Failures in DuPont Plant Deaths

A “chain of failures” in emergency response and process safety management led to the November 2014 deaths of four workers following a methyl mercaptan release at the DuPont Plant in La Porte, Texas, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB).

Cleaning supplies, solvents, chemicals

Cleaning Solvents: Who Needs HazCom Training?

Chemical exposure is a big safety and environmental hazard. But for a lot of facilities, the only chemicals they regularly use are cleaning supplies. However, only some employees (such as janitorial or facilities management staff) may be using stronger solvents, while other materials are being used by all employees throughout the entire workforce. So, who […]

Oil Refinery

CSB to EPA: Action Needed on Hydrofluoric Acid at Refineries

Explosions at two petroleum refineries in 2015 and 2018 resulted in a high level of alarm in the neighboring communities about the possibility of releases of clouds of hydrofluoric acid (HF) or modified HF (MHF) into those communities. The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) investigated both incidents and also held public meetings […]

Paint remover

Understanding the Reg: Methylene Chloride in Commercial Stripping

In March 2019, the EPA used its authority under Section 6(a) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to issue a final rule prohibiting the manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of methylene chloride for consumer paint and coating removal (stripping). The action carried out part of a proposal the Agency published in […]

Drinking water

EPA Proposal Seeks Limit for Perchlorate in Drinking Water

Stating that the benefits of a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for perchlorate do not justify the costs of such a regulation, the EPA is nonetheless proposing an NPDWR for the chemical. Under the proposal, the Agency would set the NPDWR at a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 56 micrograms per liter (µg/L). The […]

Groundwater, water pump

EPA Tackles PFAS Levels for Groundwater with Guidance Draft

In February 2019, the EPA issued its Action Plan for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Plan listed five priority actions and four short-term actions to address “key PFAS-related challenges.” One of the priority actions is to provide guidance for groundwater cleanup at sites contaminated with the two PFAS that have prompted the most concern—perfluorooctanoic […]

TSCA Inventory Rule Case Raises Questions about Substantiation, Reverse Engineering

In September 2017, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to find five aspects of the EPA’s final rule, TSCA Inventory Notification (Active-Inactive) Requirements (Aug. 11, 2017, Federal Register (FR)), unlawful. On April 26, 2019, a three-judge panel responded by denying four of the EDF’s challenges, therefore […]