Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Chairman, this amendment ensures that OSHA can continue to slow-walk a final rulemaking on diacetyl exposure for all workers. Hundreds of workers are exposed to diacetyl, and they've fallen ill with this debilitating lung disease that, as the chairman told you, was equivalent to inhaling acid. Can you imagine what their lungs look like and why at the age of 30 a young father has to have a double lung transplant, and maybe that won't even save his life?
The amendment removes the requirement that OSHA complete final rulemaking within 2 years of enactment of this legislation.
Under this amendment, the final rule would not be required to be completed until 2 years after NIOSH makes a finding that there's sufficient data to support a recommended exposure limit. NIOSH has already told us that they know this is something that they support and diacetyl should be and must be controlled. If NIOSH is delayed, more workers, including the workers we're talking about today, will be unprotected.
While workers in popcorn and flavoring facilities would be protected under the emergency standard, workers in other parts of the food industry where diacetyl is being used would be left unprotected for an indeterminate number of years. Not days, not months, but years. One food manufacturer, for example, recently announced a new line of artificial butter containing diacetyl despite its hazards to workers. Those workers would lose protections because of the Wilson amendment.
This interim rule, Mr. Chairman, covers a narrow band of workers, popcorn workers and flavoring facilities. By slow-walking this final rulemaking, as Mr. Wilson's amendment would allow, other workers exposed to diacetyl will continue to get sick. They will continue to die.
Vote ``no'' on any further delay to workplace safety rules.
Ms. SLAUGHTER. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Washington (Mr. Hastings). All time yielded during consideration of the rule is for debate only.
I yield myself such time as I may consume and ask unanimous consent that all Members be given 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks on House Resolution 677.
Mr. McKEON. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his work on this amendment.
We're kind of facing a dilemma. I think both of us, both sides, want to protect workers. However, we want to make sure that they're protected by sound science.
This amendment immediately starts the 90-day rule which would protect people from diacetyl, those working on popcorn or other products, and then it requires that within the 2 years they have the final rule based on sound science. I think that this amendment would solve the dilemma to make sure that if diacetyl isn't the only cause, we have the time to find the science to make sure that the workers really are protected. We may find that diacetyl and diacetyl alone is the cause, but if not and
we have moved forward just on diacetyl, these workers will think they're protected, and in the long run they will not be. And this is why we're really concerned. We move quickly to provide the 90-day rule, but then allow the time within the 2 years to base the final ruling on sound science.
For that reason, I ask that we support the gentleman's amendment that would fix this bill.
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 2 minutes.
This amendment was offered in committee, and we rejected the amendment, and we offered to work with the gentleman. We've had a series of discussions, and he's been involved and staff have been involved in the discussions, but at the end of the day the simple fact was that they would not agree to any deadlines for NIOSH or OSHA to act in this amendment.
We think the timetables that are in the legislation are very important. If we take off these timetables, all of the past evidence suggests that OSHA and NIOSH will sort of turn to norm and, once again, we will have an open-ended process here where there isn't an urgency about the impacts of diacetyl.
We know what diacetyl does. That's become very clear. We don't know about everything else in the workplace. We don't know about everything else in the workplace, but we know what this very bad chemical can do to people and what it's causing for them to do it.
And so we lay out NIOSH to do it. They've already recommended the manufacturers are laid out. Then OSHA will do the final rulemaking. If they come back and say they can't do it, that's their scientific evidence. [Page: H10931]
We're not putting a legislative prescription on them, but what we are insisting is they address it and they address it now and they address it on the evidence that is here and emerging and that they make a decision and they protect these workers.
That's what this legislation is about, and that's what this amendment would negate.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. WILSON of South Carolina. Mr. Chairman, again, I urge adoption of the amendment. I want to commend my colleagues again for their good intentions.
I would like to restate that as a former member of the State board of the American Lung Association for a number of years, I've had a long-time concern about lung illnesses. I sincerely believe that the amendment that I have, which provides that action would be taken upon scientific evidence, is in the interest of the manufacturing workers in the United States.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Mr. Chairman, I urge Members of the House to vote against the Wilson amendment and then to support the legislation. If we adopt the Wilson amendment, we're going right back to the status quo, and the status quo is killing these workers in these facilities. And we have the ability to stop it with this legislation.
We should stop it now. We should not any longer empower OSHA to continue to drag their feet and ignore the health and the safety of these workers and their families.
I urge a ``no'' vote on the Wilson amendment and an ``aye'' vote on the legislation.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.