"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Obama administration officials on Friday proposed to update the federal government's 42-year-old exposure limits for silica dust, a move the Labor Department said would prevent 700 deaths and 1,600 new cases of silicosis every year. The proposal would provide new protections for 2.2 million American workers, cutting in half the legal limit for dust exposure on the job."
"Most affected workers are in the construction industry, but the rule would also cover tens of thousands of employees at foundries, concrete plants, potteries and the nation's growing natural gas drilling business. Eventually, the move could also help reduce lung disease in the nation's coal industry if the administration acts on another long-promised rule.
'This proposal is long overdue,' David Michaels, assistant labor secretary in charge of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, told reporters during a telephone news conference Friday afternoon."