MEMORANDUM and ORDER
Plaintiff seeks review of the decision of the Secretary of Health and Human Services denying her application for disability benefits. She has moved for summary judgment, arguing that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) was not supported by substantial evidence. In response, the Secretary has moved that the case be remanded for reconsideration under the new mental impairment regulations promulgated pursuant to section 5(a) of the Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 98-460 (1984).
Plaintiff was born June 10, 1929, and began working at the Burpee Seed Company in 1969 as an "order filler." Tr. 87. Although plaintiff did not describe this job in detail at the hearing before the ALJ, plaintiff described the job in her vocational report as follows: "Had or[d]er from customer -- walk through aisle -- picked bags of seed off shelf -- put in tray -- put order sheet in tray -- give to a girl to check." Tr. 88. The ALJ noted that this job required standing as well as lifting over twenty pounds. Tr. 20. In 1973, she began working as a machine operator for Burpee, a job that involved constant standing as well as lifting ten to twenty pounds. The area in which the machine was located was cold and poorly ventilated, and was filled with dust and other particles. Plaintiff stopped working at Burpee in January, 1984.
Plaintiff was hospitalized in July 1982, and treated for chest pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and breathing difficulties. She was hospitalized again in January, 1984, and diagnosed as having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute purulent bronchitis. Tr. 18. Plaintiff was treated by Dr. Richard Brantz, who prepared two reports and wrote one letter about plaintiff's condition. According to his most recent evaluation, contained in his letter of November 1, 1984, he diagnosed plaintiff as suffering from hypertension, transient ischemic attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diverticulosis, anxiety, and old myocardiae infarction. Tr. 199. He stated that plaintiff's
activity level is greatly limited and her chest pain are [sic] more psychological than cardiac. Some of her weakness and shortness of breath may be related to her previous cardiac medications which are in the process of being discontinued. After discontinuation hopefully her activity level can be improved.
Plaintiff was also examined at the request of the Social Security Administration by Dr. William T. Heine. Dr. Heine concluded that her chest pains were "atypical," that there was no evidence of coronary heart disease, that her shortness of breath was not related to pulmonary dysfunction, and that her aches and pains might be due to fibrositis, but not to arthritis. Tr. 185-86.
The ALJ concluded that plaintiff "has severe lung disease," tr. 21, but that she was physically able to perform her past work as an order filler. His explanation for this finding is as follows:
The next issue to be resolved is whether the claimant can perform her past relevant work. The record indicates that the claimant's pulmonary impairment is minimally severe. If the claimant takes medication she should be able to work as long as she avoids doing more than medium work and avoids exposure to heavy pollution. The claimant's limitations do not preclude her from performing her past relevant work as an order filler. The undersigned notes that her past work involved dealing with bags of hot pepper. However, the pepper was in sealed plastic bags and resulted in no exposure.