OSHA's Asbestos Standard

OSHA's Asbestos Standard

Over an eight-hour work day, the OSHA Asbestos standard mandates that no worker may be exposed to 0.1 asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter of air. Over a half hour period, workers cannot be exposed to 1.0 asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter of air. OSHA's original 1972 standard set a 2 fiber exposure limit (which the industry claimed was technically infeasible), but it proved ineffective at protecting worker health.  In 1986, the standard was lowered to .2 fibers, and then .1 fibers as a result of union litigation. The American asbestos industry collapsed soon afterwards following a wave of health and safety related litigation.

Cry Wolf Quotes

The major problem imposed on us by the labeling requirements of the proposed regulation, which imply to the general public an exposure to the risk of asbestosis and cancer. In products ---for example, like ordinary Asbestos-Cement Siding-Shingles --- where the fibers are locked into the cement, it is highly misleading, if not downright dishonest, to scare the homeowner into believing he is exposed to cancer risk.

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Edward J. Killian, Vice President for Manufacturing Operations, Gold Bond Building products.
03/14/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

At this time we have no figures on the two fiver fiber level, if it can be in fact accomplished. These costs may keep us from being able to operate, but if they didn’t, labeling, as proposed, would surely put us out of business anyway.

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W.H. Beasley Manager of the Cement Asbestos Products Company
03/16/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

Achieving a standard of [5 fibers] will cost millions of dollars and cause a significant number of American jobs to be shifted to foreign workers. Requiring a more stringent standard and requiring unnecessarily frightening labels can have a catastrophic effects on the very people OSHA’s and the industry are attempting to protect, without really solving the human problem.

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J.B. Jobe, Executive vice president of Johns-Manville Corporation, the largest asbestos mining company in the world.
03/16/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

In our opinion, an incalculable and insupportable cost would be required to reduce emissions to the [two] fiber level....it would take considerably more than two years to attain such levels if in fact, they could be reached at all.

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GAF Corporation comment, no specific author.
03/14/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

Evidence

Backgrounders & Briefs

Gauging Control Technology and Regulatory Impacts in Occupational Safety and Health

Information on multiple OSHA regulations and their costs. In almost every case, the regulations were far cheaper than the agency estimated.