OSHA will hold public hearings in Washington, D.C., to discuss the agency’s proposed standard (mandated by a court ruling) for occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium. Hearings will begin on Feb. 1 and are expected to run through Feb. 17.

Open to the public, the hearings will be held in the auditorium of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Frances Perkins Building, 200 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington DC. The hearing will begin each day at 9:30 a.m.

OSHA proposes to lower its permissible exposure limit (PEL) for hexavalent chromium and for all Cr(VI) compounds in construction, shipyards and general industry from 52 to one microgram of Cr(VI) per cubic meter of air as an 8-hour time weighted average.

Hexavalent chromium Cr(VI) compounds are widely used in the chemical industry in pigments, metal plating and chemical synthesis as ingredients and catalysts. Cr(VI) can also be produced when welding on stainless steel or Cr(VI)-painted surfaces. The major health effects associated with exposure to Cr(VI) include lung cancer, asthma, nasal septum ulcerations and perforations, skin ulcerations (or chrome holes), and allergic and irritant contact dermatitis.