From Union City–Workers have been dying from exposure to silica on the job for about 100 years, with an estimated 1.7 million U.S. workers exposed to this serious hazard. Last week a public petition was posted on the White House website urging immediate release of a proposed OSHA rule to protect workers from silica exposure – which can cause both lung disease (silicosis) and cancer — on the job. Releasing the proposal for publication is just the first step in a lengthy review process. “Any further delays in the rulemaking process will only add to the death toll,” said Laborers’ President Terry O’Sullivan. The petition requires 25,000 signatures by February 11th to elicit a formal response from the White House.