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The Advisory Board on Toxic Substances and Worker Health Held an Online/Telephone Meeting of the Full Board on June 19, 2017

June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

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CWP News

By Deb Jerison

During the meeting it was announced that the Secretary of Labor had signed the board’s charter renewal for another two years. This is very good news because it means the excellent work this board has been doing will continue.

It was decided that the next full face-to-face board meeting will be in October or November in New Mexico. The exact date and location has not yet been decided.

This board meeting was mainly concerned with recommendations the board wanted to make to Department of Labor (DOL) on Hearing Loss and Part B lung claims. While there was no time scheduled for public comments Dr. Markowitz, the board chairman, reassured the public they would allow ample time for public comments at the fall New Mexico board meeting and reminded the public comments can always be sent to the board at [email protected].

The designated federal official, Doug Fitzgerald, also reported that DOL is moving ahead with the consideration of the first and second set of recommendations the board made previously.

First the board responded to questions and comments from DOL on Part B lung claims. The Subcommittee on Part B Lung Claims analyzed data and reviewed around 80 Part B lung claims, relevant sections of EEOICPA law, DOL’s Procedure Manual, circulars, bulletins, training materials, and published medical literature before making recommendations they felt would improve the quality and consistency of claims decisions.

The board proposed three recommendations on Part B lung diseases.

  • The first recommendation provided a definition of a chronic respiratory disorder.
  • The second endorsed a presumption of chronic beryllium disease (CBD) for covered beryllium employees with a diagnosis of sarcoidosis.
  • The third recommendation was for a substantial revision of DOL materials which the board found to be in conflict with each other or incorrect.

The board voted and unanimously passed these recommendations. They will be sent to DOL for consideration. A draft version of these recommendations is available online, with the updated version to be added as soon as possible.

The board also made a recommendation for changes to DOL’s current policy on solvents and sensorineural hearing loss claims. Currently the policy is that a worker must have exposure to specific solvents for a ten years consecutively prior to 1990. The board did not feel this was scientifically valid and recommended DOL use a less restrictive criteria to adjudicate these claims. The draft PowerPoint on solvent use and hearing loss is available on the June 19th meeting webpage. Again, the final version will be available on this page as soon as the corrections are made.