This morning’s Wonkbook was about some of the senseless regulations that economic incumbents put on the books to limit competition. But there are also the needed regulations they keep off the books in order to lower costs:
The federal standard in place to protect workers like Revers from beryllium is based on an Atomic Energy Commission calculation crafted by an industrial hygienist and a physician in the back of a taxi in 1949. For the last 12 years, an effort to update that standard has been mired in delay. A plan to address another toxic hazard — silica, a mineral that also damages the lungs — has been tied up even longer: 15 years...Beryllium, used in everything from missiles to golf clubs, threatens as many as 134,000 workers in the United States, according to government estimates. Silica, pulverized and inhaled by construction workers, foundry workers and miners, threatens more than 2 million. Obsolete exposure limits, dating to the early 1970s, are on the books for both substances.
The consequences of overexposure to silica and beryllium are beyond awful. So what’s the hold-up on updating the laws? Industry opposition, mostly. Much more — including some shocking numbers on the breakdown of rule making at OSHA -- here.