ASARCO, Inc. v. Occupational Safety and Health Admin., AFL-CIO

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore BROWNING, Chief Judge, and HUG and PREGERSON; PREGERSON
Citation746 F.2d 483
Parties14 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,901, 11 O.S.H. Cas.(BNA) 2217, 1984-1985 O.S.H.D. ( 27,053 ASARCO, INC., et al., Petitioners, v. OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, United States Dept. of Labor, Respondent, United Steelworkers of America,, and Chemical Manufacturers Assoc., Intervenors. ANACONDA MINERALS COMPANY, and Kennecott Copper Corporation, Petitioners, v. OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, United States Department of Labor, Respondent, United Steelworkers of America,, and Chemical Manufacturers Assoc., Intervenors.
Decision Date30 October 1984
Docket NumberAFL-CIO,78-2764 and 78-3038,Nos. 78-1959

Page 483

746 F.2d 483
14 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,901, 11 O.S.H. Cas.(BNA) 2217,
1984-1985 O.S.H.D. ( 27,053
ASARCO, INC., et al., Petitioners,
v.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, United States
Dept. of Labor, Respondent,
United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO, and Chemical
Manufacturers Assoc., Intervenors.
ANACONDA MINERALS COMPANY, and Kennecott Copper Corporation,
Petitioners,
v.
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, United States
Department of Labor, Respondent,
United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO, and Chemical
Manufacturers Assoc., Intervenors.
Nos. 78-1959, 78-2764 and 78-3038.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted Oct. 12, 1983.
Decided Sept. 13, 1984.
Amended Opinion Oct. 30, 1984.

Page 486

Frederick C. Schafrick, Ralph J. Moore, Jr., Shea & Gardner, Washington, D.C., William O. Hart, New York City, for ASARCO, Inc.

Alfred V.J. Prather, Kurt E. Blase, Prather Seeger Doolittle & Farmer, Washington, D.C., for Kennecott.

Seth Goldberg, Timothy B. Atkeson, Steptoe & Johnson, Chartered, David F. Zoll, Manufacturers Association, Washington, D.C., for Chemical Mfrs. Assoc.

Dennis K. Kade, Frank X. Lilly, Frank A. White, Charles P. Gordon, Laura V. Gargas, and Domenique Kirchner, Dept. of Labor, Washington, D.C., for OSHA.

George H. Cohen, Jeremiah A. Collins, Bredhoff & Kaiser, Washington, D.C., James D. English and Mary-Win O'Brien, Pittsburgh, Pa., for United Steelworkers of America.

Timothy B. Atkeson, Seth Goldberg, Washington, D.C., Edward B. Wood, Pittsburgh, Pa., Gerald L. Daugherty, Buffalo, N.Y., on the brief for amici curiae Koppers Co., Inc., Osmose Wood Preserving Co. and Mineral Research and Development Corp.

Page 487

On Petition to Review The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Standard Regulating Employee Exposure to Inorganic Arsenic.

Before BROWNING, Chief Judge, and HUG and PREGERSON, Circuit Judges.

PREGERSON, Circuit Judge:

Members of the smelting industry petition for review of regulations promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA or Secretary). 1 The regulations establish maximum permissible exposure levels (PELs) of airborne arsenic to which workers may be exposed. Arsenic is a by-product of nonferrous metal (e.g., copper, lead, and zinc) smelting. Because the regulations are supported by substantial evidence, we deny the petition for review and uphold the challenged regulations. We also hold that the Secretary did not abuse his discretion in refusing to reopen the record to reconsider the feasibility of the standard.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

For a detailed account of the procedural history, rulemaking, and underlying scientific data in this case see 48 Fed.Reg. 1869-1903 (Jan. 14, 1983), 43 Fed.Reg. 19584-631 (May 5, 1978). Briefly stated, arsenic 2 is a by-product of non-ferrous metal smelting processes. Although sometimes an unwanted by-product, arsenic is marketed for many uses, including use as an insecticide, pesticide, or clarifying agent in glass production. It may also be further processed into "pentavalent arsenic" which is used, for example, as a herbicide, desiccant (drying agent), or wood preservative. See 43 Fed.Reg. at 19584-85.

Following the receipt of studies indicating that arsenic was a human carcinogen, OSHA proposed a reduction of the existing standard for occupational exposure to arsenic from 500 ug/m 3 to 4 ug/m 3. 3 40 Fed.Reg. 3392 (Jan. 21, 1975). Thereafter, OSHA held public hearings and received and considered epidemiological studies of the relationship between arsenic exposure and cancer. OSHA also received and considered studies evaluating the technological and economic feasibility of possible measures to reduce occupational exposure to arsenic. On May 5, 1978, OSHA published a final standard limiting occupational exposure to arsenic to 10 ug/m 3. OSHA also found that the 10 ug/m 3 PEL was both technologically and economically feasible. 43 Fed.Reg. 19584-631 (May 5, 1978) (codified at 29 C.F.R. Sec. 1910.1018 (1983) ).

The final standard regulates employee exposure to arsenic and applies to most workplaces. Exemptions are granted for pesticide application, agriculture, and the treatment and use of arsenically preserved woods. 29 C.F.R. 1910.1018(a). The standard went into effect August 1, 1978, and lowered the permissible exposure level (PEL) from 500 to 10 ug/m 3 averaged over an eight-hour period. 4 Id. at 1910.1018(c). The standard includes provisions designed to assist in the reduction of employee exposure to arsenic and to aid the detection of arsenic-induced disease (for example, the regulations require employers to provide changing rooms, filtered air lunch rooms, medical examinations, and exposure monitoring).

Page 488

29 C.F.R. Sec. 1910.1018(m), (n), (e). Several affected companies challenged the standard and the cases were consolidated in this court. 5 Before we had ruled on those challenges, the Supreme Court decided Industrial Union Dept. v. American Petroleum Institute (IUD v. API ), 448 U.S. 607, 100 S.Ct. 2844, 65 L.Ed.2d 1010 (1980) (reviewing OSHA's proposed benzene standard). In IUD v. API, the Court held that the Secretary must make a finding that a toxic substance poses a "significant risk" to workers' health before he may regulate that substance under Sec. 6(b)(5) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (Act), 29 U.S.C. Secs. 651-678, Sec. 655(b)(5) (1982). 448 U.S. at 642, 100 S.Ct. at 2864. Because the Secretary had not specifically made such findings with respect to the proposed arsenic standard, on April 7, 1981, we remanded the record to the Secretary to make the required findings. We did, however, keep the 10 ug/m 3 PEL in effect during the remand because OSHA had evidence demonstrating that arsenic did indeed pose a significant risk at the then-existing 500 ug/m 3 level. ASARCO conceded that such a risk existed. ASARCO Inc. v. OSHA, 647 F.2d 1, 2 (9th Cir.1981). Our remand was limited to the "significant risk" issue although we did leave open the possibility that the remand could be modified upon petition by the parties in light of an expected opinion by the Supreme Court that would focus on feasibility issues. 6 ASARCO, Inc., et. al v. OSHA, Nos. 78-1959, 78-2764, 78-3039, 78-2477, 78-2478 (Order of April 7, 1981).

On remand, the Secretary reopened the record for the limited purpose of receiving evidence and making the required findings on the degree and significance of risk posed by occupational exposure to arsenic and to determine whether further adjustments in the final standard were warranted. 47 Fed.Reg. 15358 (April 9, 1982). On January 14, 1983, after receiving and considering additional evidence and public comments on the significant risk issue, the Secretary published his final statement justifying the 10 ug/m 3 arsenic standard. 48 Fed.Reg. 1864-1903 (January 14, 1983), as corrected by 48 Fed.Reg. 24068-73 (May 31, 1983). Petitioners requested the Secretary to reopen the record also on the question whether the 10 ug/m 3 PEL was technologically and economically feasible. The Secretary did not do so, treating petitioners' request to reopen the record as a proposal to amend the standard. The Secretary (through OSHA's Director of Health Standards) rejected the proposed amendment. Letter of June 7, 1983. See also 48 Fed.Reg. at 1869.

After considering epidemiological studies on the relationship of arsenic exposure to lung and other cancers, the Secretary found that arsenic was a human carcinogen that posed a significant risk to workers at the pre-existing 500 ug/m 3 PEL. 7 The Secretary also found that a 10 ug/m 3 PEL would significantly reduce that risk. The Secretary estimated that the "excess risk" 8 to workers at the 500 ug/m 3 PEL was 400 excess deaths per 1000 employees, while the excess risk to workers at the 10 ug/m 3 PEL would be 8 excess deaths per 1000 employees. The Secretary therefore concluded that reducing the PEL from 500 ug/m 3 to 10 ug/m 3 was likely to reduce significantly the cancer risk.

Prior to our remand, the Secretary had found the 10 ug/m 3 PEL standard to be

Page 489

feasible--both technologically and economically--in all affected industries. 43 Fed.Reg. at 19601-12. The Secretary based his overall feasibility findings on OSHA and industry studies which agreed that the 10 ug/m 3 PEL could be obtained through the use of existing engineering controls in combination with sound work practices and supplementary respirator use. The Secretary determined that engineering and work practice controls would bring virtually all areas of the majority of copper smelters and most areas of even those smelters refining high-arsenic-content ore into compliance with the 10 ug/m 3 PEL. 9 43 Fed.Reg. at 19601-03, 19605. The Secretary also found that the 10 ug/m 3 PEL could be met in high-emission areas through supplemental use of respirators. 43 Fed.Reg. at 19616-17.

The Secretary found that the 10 ug/m 3 standard was also economically feasible for all affected industries. In reaching this conclusion, he paid particularly close attention to the copper smelting industry, the industry most affected by the standard. 43 Fed.Reg. at 19604-07.

Once the Secretary made his significant risk findings on remand, the matter was resubmitted to this court and rebriefed. Industry petitioners ASARCO, Inc., Kennecott (formerly Kennecott Copper Corporation), and Anaconda Minerals Company 10 again challenge the standard. They contend that the Secretary's risk and feasibility findings are not supported by substantial evidence as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 655(f) (1982). Petitioners also contend that the Secretary abused his discretion by not reopening the record to consider additional evidence on the feasibility issues. The Chemical Manufacturer's Association (CMA) intervened in support of petitioners; the United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO (Steelworkers)...

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22 practice notes
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register February 28, 2006
    • February 28, 2006
    ...as in other compounds, we believe that OSHA was justified in choosing to include cadmium pigments in the PEL * * * ; Asarco, Inc. v. OSHA, 746 F.2d 483, 495 (9th Cir. 1984) (permissible for OSHA to ``use trivalent arsenic studies and conclusions to support inclusion of pentavalent arsenic i......
  • Safari Club Int'l v. Haaland, 21-35030
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • April 18, 2022
    ...equipped than courts by specialization, by insight gained through experience, and by more flexible procedure."); ASARCO, Inc. v. OSHA , 746 F.2d 483, 490 (9th Cir. 1984) (stipulating that an agency has "leeway where its findings must be made on the frontiers of scientific knowledge," includ......
  • In re Abilify (Aripiprazole) Prods. Liab. Litig., Case No. 3:16-md-2734
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
    • March 15, 2018
    ...quantifies the ability of a study to detect an association that truly exists. See ASARCO, Inc. v. Occupational Safety and Health Admin. , 746 F.2d 483, 493 n.19 (9th Cir. 1984) ; see also Kuhn v. Wyeth, Inc. , 686 F.3d 618, 622 n.5 (8th Cir. 2012) ("Power analysis can be used to calculate t......
  • American Federation of Labor and Congress of Indus. Organizations v. Occupational Safety and Health Admin., U.S. Dept. of Labor, Nos. 89-7185
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 7, 1992
    ...& Constr. Trades Dept., AFL-CIO v. Brock, 838 F.2d 1258, 1263 (D.C.Cir.1988); Public Citizen, 796 F.2d at 1502; ASARCO, Inc. v. OSHA, 746 F.2d 483, 488 (9th Once OSHA finds that a significant risk of material health impairment exists at current exposure levels for a given toxic substance, a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
21 cases
  • Safari Club Int'l v. Haaland, 21-35030
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • April 18, 2022
    ...equipped than courts by specialization, by insight gained through experience, and by more flexible procedure."); ASARCO, Inc. v. OSHA , 746 F.2d 483, 490 (9th Cir. 1984) (stipulating that an agency has "leeway where its findings must be made on the frontiers of scientific knowledge," includ......
  • In re Abilify (Aripiprazole) Prods. Liab. Litig., Case No. 3:16-md-2734
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Florida
    • March 15, 2018
    ...quantifies the ability of a study to detect an association that truly exists. See ASARCO, Inc. v. Occupational Safety and Health Admin. , 746 F.2d 483, 493 n.19 (9th Cir. 1984) ; see also Kuhn v. Wyeth, Inc. , 686 F.3d 618, 622 n.5 (8th Cir. 2012) ("Power analysis can be used to calculate t......
  • American Federation of Labor and Congress of Indus. Organizations v. Occupational Safety and Health Admin., U.S. Dept. of Labor, Nos. 89-7185
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • July 7, 1992
    ...& Constr. Trades Dept., AFL-CIO v. Brock, 838 F.2d 1258, 1263 (D.C.Cir.1988); Public Citizen, 796 F.2d at 1502; ASARCO, Inc. v. OSHA, 746 F.2d 483, 488 (9th Once OSHA finds that a significant risk of material health impairment exists at current exposure levels for a given toxic substance, a......
  • Safari Club Int'l v. Haaland, 21-35030
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • April 18, 2022
    ...equipped than courts by specialization, by insight gained through experience, and by more flexible procedure."); ASARCO, Inc. v. OSHA, 746 F.2d 483, 490 (9th Cir. 1984) (stipulating that an agency has "leeway where its findings must be made on the frontiers of scientific knowledge," includi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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