the green files, an SQRC Newsletter


Volume II, Issue 3

August 2007

Welcome to the summer issue of “The Green Files.” We take you back to basics with some summer reading about worker exposure to chemicals. We update you on the situation in Willits, a small town in Northern California that still needs a medical monitoring clinic. We also provide you with the latest about the Cal/OSHA PEL process that may result in additional, potentially lower permissible worker exposure numbers in California and beyond.



What is SQRC?

Barbara Kanegsberg
Ed Kanegsberg

Surface Quality Resource Center, SQRC, is a not for profit, 501c3 organization. We established SQRC as a separate entity from our consultancy to utilize our decades of experience in chemistry, clinical chemistry, physics, and process development for productive, environmentally-preferred projects. Industrial activities are reality of contemporary life; the need to protect our environment is also a reality.

The SQRC charter encompasses two basic areas:
•Education and outreach to industry and to communities
•Developing and implementing practical, environmentally-preferred processes



Summer Reading – A Classic in Worker Safety

Barbara Kanegsberg, SQRC

You probably had to read the “Bill of Rights” somewhere in your interaction with the educational system. If you work with chemicals, do you know what you ought to read or at least glance at 29CFR 1910.1200 “Hazard Communication”? While not as riveting as the latest “Harry Potter,” reading 29CFR 1910.1200 is actually not at all painful, and it’s very instructive. Hopefully, your employer provides a Hazard Communication program. While training programs are important, to be truly educated, it’s useful to get back to the source of requirements: for programs, for labeling, for MSDS.



Update on Cal/OSHA PELs

Ed Kanegsberg, SQRC

Cal/OSHA has established a new policy for determining recommended workplace exposure limits for airborne chemicals and has also named a panel of experts. Once approved, the Permissible Exposure Levels (PELs) developed by Cal/OSHA would be legally enforceable throughout California. One might expect the PELs to be utilized elsewhere in the U.S. Further, because the new policy indicates utilization of risk factors developed for a community exposure approach (similar to that used for Proposition 65), there is a reasonable potential for the new PELs to be significantly lower than those set by Federal OSHA or by nationally-recognized professional organizations such as AIHA. An initial meeting will be held on August 21.




Unmack Named to Cal/OSHA HEAC

We are pleased to announce that Jim Unmack has been selected to be a member of the Cal/OSHA Health Expert Advisory Committee (HEAC). Jim is a Certified Industrial Hygienist. His background in the military, the regulatory community, and his ongoing work with industry will provide a valuable perspective to the HEAC in addressing the challenges of developing the evaluation process and in setting recommendations for Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs). Jim is a member of the Technical Advisory Panel of SQRC.



Willits STILL Needs a Medical Monitoring Clinic

Barbara Kanegsberg, SQRC

Willits is a small town in a relatively isolated geographical area in Northern California. A single major industry utilizing many organic and inorganic chemicals, operated for decades in Willits. There has been concern on the part of individuals with expertise in occupational and environmental medicine about the impact of these industrial activities. Willits provides an opportune locale for a medical monitoring clinic that would elucidate the long-term effects (physical and psychological) of multiple chemicals on workers and community members. In the first issue of “Green Files,” we promised to update you about Willits, CA, the Abex/Remco facility, and progress on a medical monitoring clinic to assess exposure of workers and community members to chemicals.

After 10 years of effort, the bottom line is that the Willits area still does not have a medical monitoring clinic; and the Willits area still needs a medical monitoring clinic.

Why is such monitoring important to you? Human activity involves risk. Manufacturing inevitably involves multiple chemicals and processes; and manufacturing processes will inevitably increase in complexity. From activities of the past we learn to avoid harmful and costly scenarios in the future. The findings of a medical monitoring clinic can potentially help you if you are a community member that might be impacted by industry, a worker who uses chemicals, the manager of a manufacturing plant, a healthcare professional, an industrial hygienist, a regulatory professional, or a concerned citizen.



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