Newswise — James A.Tacci, MD, JD, MPH (FACOEM), President of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, made the following statement today regarding a recently issued rule by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that better protects workers from silica exposure:

“Millions of American workers are exposed to silica dust every year – a dangerous substance that impacts people in a wide range of industries. It has been linked to thousands of deaths and a wide range of health maladies, from lung cancer to kidney disease. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a final rule on silica that will protect our workers from this longstanding hazard by significantly tightening the standards for the acceptable level of silica exposure allowed in workplaces.”

“ACOEM applauds OSHA for this important step, which will save lives and improve working conditions significantly for American workers, while lowering health costs related to silica exposure. To demonstrate our commitment, we filed an amicus brief last Friday in the United States Court of Appeals for the District Of Columbia, along with the American Thoracic Society, affirming our support for a new, significantly lower level of acceptable silica exposure in the workplace.”

“Ensuring the health and safety of our workforce is critically important to U.S. economic vitality as well as to the overall well being of our society, and it must continue to be a national health care priority.”

NOTE TO REPORTERS: ACOEM is one of six health organizations hosting a Congressional Briefing on silica exposure Wednesday, February 15 from 10 to 11 a.m. in Room 1540-A, Longworth House Office Building. For more information, please call 703-846-0730.