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					OMNI                                                        PROFESSIONAL
                                                            ENVIRONMENTAL
                                                            ASSOCIATES, P.A.
                                                                                            INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
                                                                                            • Page 2 Ergonomic Standards
                                                                                            • Page 3 What’s New in TMDLs
                                                                                            • Page 4 Tidbits



                                                                                       Volume 2
                                                                                        Issue 1
     Environmental Health & Safety Newsletter                                      Fall/Winter 2000


                                                    IAQ Update:
                                               Cleanroom Cancer Cases
WW




      Large-scale Scottish study underway                                     Chemicals: Since the John Hopkins study, such
                                                                    glycol ethers are no longer used in most major
                Cleanrooms are essential to the so-called “new      semiconductor fabs. However, other hazards are still
      economy” sector. They are key to such high growth             under review. For example, recent data have also raised
      industries as pharmaceutical manufacturing,                   concerns about respiratory tract effects of hydrogen
      biotechnology, and semiconductor manufacturing. These         selenide, a colorless gas used in the preparation of
      rooms are essentially designed to limit dust and to protect   semiconductor materials for use in lasers, solar cells, and
      the purity of the product being manufactured in them.         other optical-electronic equipment. However, the extent
      However, anecdotal evidence has arisen regarding cancer       to which these other chemicals are involved in the injuries
      effects in cleanroom workers.                                 alleged in the National Semiconductor case or the IBM
                                                                    cases is not known.
                National Semiconductor case: For example,
      on May 25, 1999, a group of ten women filed a class action             Scottish Study: Another study is now
      lawsuit against National Semiconductor Electronics            underway in Scotland by the Health and Safety Executive
      Company in Santa Clara County, California. This class         (HSE) [a U.K. government agency]. This study is
      action suit is related to a semiconductor fab in Greencock,   designed to involve 4500 current and former employees
      Scotland, the so-called “Silicon Glen” area. As a class       of the Greencock fab. According to Stewart Campbell,
      action, the suit will cover any former or present             Head of Operations in HSE, “the study aims to establish
      employees at National Semiconductor plants in both the        the number of cancer cases occurring in the work force
      U.S. and U.K. During May 2000, former employees of            since the plant opened…compared with the number that
      National Semiconductor visited the Greencock fab with         might be expected in a Scottish workforce of similar size
      Santa Clara lawyer, Richard Alexander, and the complaints     over the same time period.”
      are likely to be heard in a Santa Clara court during 2001.
                                                                             The semiconductor industry has agreed to
               On March 28, 1996, a similar suit was filed          cooperate with this latest study and has agreed to address
      against chemical suppliers to IBM alleging that cancer        any problems revealed by the study. The application of
      deaths, testicular cancers, and birth defects resulted from   these studies and the existence of the cancer phenomenon
      workplace exposures to toxics in cleanrooms. This suit        at cleanrooms in other industries are currently unreported.
      was supported in part by an extensive study by Johns
      Hopkins of workers at 14 semiconductor manufacturers
                                                                           To request more information or a
      that showed an increased risk of spontaneous abortions
      from ethylene-based glycol ethers. These cases can be                 cleanroom study at your facility,
      expensive as shown by a 1996 settlement by an Idaho                Please contact OMNI at 800-951-7625
      chipmaker for $2.25 million for reproductive illness.
OMNI ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATE FALL/WINTER 2000

                                                               employees to identify, reduce, and promptly report MSDs.
         OSHA Update                                           MSDs are defined as an injury or disorder of the muscle,
   ERGONOMICALLY SPEAKING                                      tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, blood vessels or related soft
                                                               tissue including a sprain, strain, or inflammation, that may be
                                                               caused or aggravated by work. The Rule requires employers
        On November 14, 2000 the Occupational Safety
                                                               to reduce or eliminate reported employee exposure to
and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a national
                                                               MSDs by making changes such as the types of tools used
Ergonomics Program Standard. The New Federal
                                                               in a job, the work station where a task is performed, the
ergonomics standard outlines six elements to be included
                                                               order of work, rotating job responsibilities, workplace
in an employer’s ergonomics program:
                                                               exercises or breaks, or other changes which are
                                                               “economically and technologically reasonable and
    •    Management Leadership and Employee                    feasible.”
         Participation                                            When OSHA first began working on the ergonomics
    •    Hazard information and Reporting                      standard, they set out to protect employees from
    •    Job Hazard Analysis and                                                        repetitive-motion injuries. The
                                                                                        new rules focus on MSDs which
         Control                                                                        many critics feel encompass
    •    Training                                                                       several sorts of aches and pains
    •    Musculoskeletal                                                                that have nothing to do with
         Disorders (MSD) Management                                                     repetition.
    •    Program Evaluation
                                                                                            BUSINESS REACTION
      According to OSHA, these disorders
reportedly affect 1.8 million workers a year.                                                    Businesses ranging from
The Rule is designed to cover all work sites                                           large corporations to small
that involve manufacturing and /or manual                                              business      are    not    pleased.
handling, as well as any other work site where                                         Employers feel the rules are too
a single work-related MSD has been reported.                                           broad and too vague and claim
The only work sites exempt from the standard                                           that compliance will cost billions
are construction, agriculture and maritime                                             more annually than OSHA first
facilities.                                                                            anticipated. Also, many of the
      The Rule requires all employers with over                                        ailments listed under the MSDs
10 employees to provide training in identifying, reducing      category could happen at home yet may be reported by
and promptly reporting work-related musculoskeletal            the employee as occurring on the job.           Neither the
problems.                                                      employer or even a medical examiner can prove
                                                               otherwise.
                                                                        Even the term “ergonomics” is broadly defined.
SAFE HARBOR
                                                               In theory, it refers to ways that workplaces can be
                                                               modified to fit workers, such as adapting tools,
         The Rule provides a “safe harbor” for employers       workbenches or computer keyboards to produce less
who voluntarily sponsor employee involvement                   strain. However, in practice, there is no universally
programs and enter into agreements with OSHA to                recognized guidance supporting best practices in this area,
correct potential violations. Employers who have this          and the medical community is divided on the causes of
type of program and correct any deficiencies found during      repetitive motion injuries and how to prevent them.
a compliance inspection will not be cited for violating the    Business and industry groups indicate the new rules are
standard.                                                      complex and expensive to implement and there is no
                                                               assurance that future injuries will be avoided.
FOCUS ON MSDs
                                                                       Please contact OMNI for our new
          The rules focus on work-related musculoskeletel                    Ergonomics brochure
disorders (MSDs). The Rules require employers to train their                     800-951-7625
OMNI ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATE FALL/WINTER 2000

                                                               current rules do not address schedules for implementing
   WATER Quality Update                                        nonpoint source controls.
New and “Improved” TMDL?                                                The EPA must develop TMDLs where a TMDL
                                                               submitted to the EPA is disapproved. The EPA must
          Over 20,000 waterbodies across America have          develop a TMDL where a state fails to make substantial
been identified as being polluted. These waters include        progress under an approved schedule. The EPA must
over 300,000 river and shoreline miles and 5 million acres     complete TMDLs within 2 years. Currently, the EPA
of lakes.                                                      must develop TMDLs only where a TMDL submitted to
          Recently, the United States Environmental            EPA is disapproved.
Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule set to take
effect on October 1, 2001 to improve the total maximum         Key Plans
daily loads (TMDLs) program. The overall goal of the
EPA programs are to clean up as many of these                           A comprehensive listing of a state’s polluted
waterbodies as feasibly possible.                              waters is required. This includes waters needing TMDLs,
          The TMDL program is designed to be a                 waters impaired by pollution, polluted waters with
cooperative effort between the states and the EPA.             completed TMDLs that do not yet meet water quality
According to the EPA, a total maximum daily loads              standards, and polluted waters where existing controls will
(TMDL ) program is essentially a “pollution budget”            meet water quality standards before the next list is
designed to restore the health of a polluted body of water.    submitted. The current state listings only include waters
The goal of the EPA through this Rule is to make               impaired by pollutants and those still needing a TMDL.
thousands more rivers, lakes, and coastal waters safe for               States must give a high priority to development
swimming, fishing, and healthy populations of fish.            of TMDLs for waterbodies where the problem pollutant
          Highlights of the changes and improvements in        is causing a drinking water system violation or where the
the new TMDL regulations are as follows:                       waterbody supports threatened or endangered species.
                                                               The current regulations do not address these problems.
TMDL Implementation Plans                                               The new regulations give the EPA a new
                                                               mechanism to object to and to reissue expired state
         A TMDL must include an implementation plan            NPDES permits for waters not meeting water quality
that defines specific steps to be taken to restore polluted    standards. They also require permits for certain animal
waters on a specific schedule. The current regulations do      feeding/aquatic culture operations in states authorized to
not require implementation plans.                              issue Clean Water Act permits pursuant to a TMDL
         Implementation plans must provide a reasonable        established by EPA. The current rules provide no
assurance that measures to reduce pollution from               procedural mechanism on this issue.
nonpoint sources will be implemented. The current
regulations do not fully address nonpoint sources.
         Implementation plans must identify a date by              Over 20,000
which the State expects that water quality standards will be       Waterbodies
attained. The current regulations do not address                      across
schedules for attainment of water quality standards.              America have
                                                                  been identified
Schedules                                                            as being
                                                                     polluted.
          States must develop TMDLs as soon as possible,
at an even pace, but no later than 10 years after the first
listing of a polluted waterbody, unless the EPA grants an
extension. Currently, states set priorities and identify
those TMDLs that they expect to develop over the next                          Need help with your
two years.                                                                      NPDES Permit?
          A schedule provides for implementing controls                         Please call OMNI
within 5 years when practicable for pollution control                              800-951-7625
measures for both point and nonpoint sources. The
OMNI ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATE FALL/WINTER 2000



                                              UPDATES & TIDBITS
                                                                                    OMNI’s Now Online
                AIR Quality Update
                   NC NOx Plan                                               OMNI is now online please check out our
                                                                     website at www.environmentalengineers.com. Let us
      In October the Environmental Management                        know what you think about our new website. We
Commission (EMC) adopted a permanent rule and a                      value your comments.
Hunt Administration compromise to reduce nitrogen
oxide emissions from coal-fired powered plants by 68
percent by 2006. The two major utility companies
involved are Duke Power Co., and Carolina Power &
Light. Earlier this year, both utility companies voluntarily
began to cut nitrogen oxides emissions beyond reductions
mandated by Clean Air Act Title IV. The reductions are
expected to cost each company more than $300 million.
North Carolina is one of 22 states under an
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) order to cut
emissions. EMC also adopted two temporary rules
related to this EPA Nox SIP call. Need help with your
Air Permit? Please call OMNI at 800-951-7625.




     OMNI
                          PROFESSIONAL
                          ENVIRONMENTAL
                          ASSOCIATES, P.A.

      PO Box 13404
      Research Triangle Park, NC 27709




 This newsletter is provided as a free service to clients and friends of OMNI. The information contained in this newsletter is not
intended as legal advice or engineering advice. If you have specific questions or comments concerning this newsletter or its
contents please contact us at OMNI Professional Environmental Associates, P.A. PO Box 13404, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-
3404 - Phone 919-544-5442 or by email : omnipro@earthlink.net
OMNI ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH & SAFETY UPDATE FALL/WINTER 2000

				
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