The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the primary source for information on government regulations. The CFR is a government publication which contains nearly all federal regulations and is compiled annually in July. It is organized by title and updated quarterly. New regulations which are not yet in the CFR can often be found in the Federal Register (FR).
Each volume of the CFR provides guidelines on how to use it. The volume cover lists the number, parts included, and revision date. An Explanation section at the beginning of each volume lists information such as issue dates, legal status, and how to use the CFR. More detailed information on using the CFR is included at the end of the volume. The Finding Aids section is composed of the following subsections:
1. Materials approved for incorporation by reference
2. Table of CFR titles and chapters
3. Appendix to List of CFR sections affected
4. List of CFR sections affected.
CFR Title 29 contains regulations mandated by the Occupation Safety, Health, and Safety Administration (OSHA); Title 40 contains EPA regulations; the
Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations are found in Title 49. Regulatory actions are codified in numbered parts and sections. These parts designate general subject areas, and sections within each part are numbered consecutively. Thus, 40 CFR 141.11 is interpreted as an EPA regulation in which 141 identifies the regulation as the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations, and 11 specifies maximum contamination levels for inorganic chemicals in drinking water supplies.
The FR is a weekly and daily, official newspaper of the regulatory side of the federal government, published by the Government Printing Office. Much of the material in the FR eventually is incorporated into the CFR. The FR typically contains notice of repealed regulations and proposed regulations. The contents are organized alphabetically by issuing agency, such as, the National Labor Relations Board and National Mediation Board.
While the FR is the most up-to-date source of federal regulations, going through each FR published subsequent to the newest CFR available is time-consuming. Rather than going through each FR to establish any changes in regulation, a researcher can consult a monthly companion to the CFR entitled the List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA).
The LSA can be used once a researcher has established the date at which the CFR coverage ends. The most recent LSA should then be consulted. A researcher can refer to the regulation by title and number. The LSA indicates whether the regulation has been revised or amended. If changes have been made, the FR which contains the altered regulations is referenced.
—David Bookchin David Farnsworth
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