Informal EPA Meeting and Status Report April 2010
As a result of the substantial comments received by EPA, especially on the proposed new primary label formats, EPA arranged for an informal invitation-only meeting that was held on January 13, 2010, at NIOSH in Cincinnati. Elliott Berger, Senior Scientist Auditory Research for 3M was one of those present, representing both 3M and the ANSI hearing protector working group that he chairs. The day was spent in detailed discussion of suitable formats for the primary label on the hearing protector packaging, especially the 5-label format suggested by 3M in their November comments
Minutes of the meeting can be found at www.Regulations.gov by searching on “EPA HQ OAR 2003 0024” and clicking on “Hearing protection devices labeling meeting.” The group discussed a new set of labels to better describe the performance of the wide variety of both basic and advanced electronic devices that are in the marketplace, and to suitably deal with level-dependent hearing protectors and especially performance in impulse noise.
The EPA is now assimilating those materials, evaluating the results of the discussion, planning end-user evaluation of proposed labels, and moving forward with drafting a final rule. They anticipate that rule will appear later this year. The exact publication date in the Federal Register is still uncertain as are the effective dates and how much time manufacturers will have to complete testing and relabeling on the over 1200 products that are covered by this rule.
We will keep you posted a new information emerges.