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Lead Exposure in Pennsylvania, Bromine Exposure in Indiana Lead is a heavy metal that has a pernicious impact on health for

both the young and the old. Its actually a slow-acting poison (it takes months to years before symptoms manifest themselves) that leads to long-term to lifelong serious physical and mental health problems. In heavy lead poisoning, it is fatal. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed penalties of $45,265 for Heraeus Materials Technology LLC, which it found to have committed several health and safety violations, including allowing some of its workers to be exposed to dangerous high levels of lead and silver at the company's West Conshohocken facility. Although OSHACampus trainingfor instance, OSHACampus 10 and OSHACampus 30 is now required by many employers, many workers are still exposed to unnecessary worksite hazards, such as the potentially fatal exposure to heavy metals at Heraeus Materials, because of employer negligence, ignorance, or plain disregard of basic safety protocols. OSHA conducted an inspection in December 2011 after the Pennsylvania Department of Health alerted the U.S. worksite-safety watchdog to possible safety and health violations. "Lead overexposure is a leading cause of workplace illness that can cause adverse health problems, including brain damage, kidney disease, and harm to the reproductive system," revealed Jean Kulp, the OSHA Allentown Area office director. "It is critically important that Heraeus Materials Technology takes effective steps to monitor, identify, and reduce exposure levels to safeguard its employees' health." OSHA said that one of the companys violations was actually a repeat violation involving lead exposure beyond the permissible limit. Heraeus Materials was cited for the same infraction in April 2010. The new citation carries a $27,500 penalty. Meanwhile, OSHA has reported a bromine overexposure incident in Indiana. Bromine, a naturally occurring element, was formerly used as a sedative, but that pharmaceutical use has long fallen out of favor. Today bromine is usually found in products intended for agriculture and sanitation, as well as in fire retardants. Because bromine is highly reactive, accidental overexposure to bromine always has serious health and safety repercussions. OSHA issued 18 serious safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $122,000 against Great Lakes Chemical Corp., a chemical-manufacturing company based in West Lafayette, Indiana for the bromine incident. Following its December 2011 inspection of the company's El Dorado facility, OSHA discovered that Great Lakes Chemical had exposed its workers to the unexpected release of bromine.

The inspectioninitiated under the agency's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program, which endeavors to mitigate workplace hazards that can lead to the catastrophic release of highly hazardous chemicalsturned up several process safety-management standard violations. On the companys laundry list of violations were: failure to institute procedures to keep levels are correctly established for pressure vessels and piping; failure to correctly direct its process hazard analysis to deal with hazards involved with valves being closed or blocked; and failure to make sure that the compliance audit effectively dealt with procedures to assess the mechanical integrity of pressure vessels and piping. "By failing to ensure that safeguards are in place, Great Lakes Chemical puts its workers at risk of exposure to bromine, a highly hazardous chemical that can cause severe burns to the eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system," pointed out Carlos Reynolds, OSHA area director in Little Rock.