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

There will no doubt be cases where the technology is available to reduce levels to two fibers, but where the cost involved would make a particular product line either no longer profitable or no longer competitive on the open market....In these cases, the plant or manufacturing operation would also be shut down.

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Matthew M. Swetonic, Executive Secretary of the Asbestos Information Association
03/15/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

If there is no danger of the airborne concentrations exceeding those provided in Section (a) of the standard, we feel that there should be no need to alarm employees with inflammatory arid suggestive signs. Industry would be opened up to hazard pay and workman’s compensation claims, even though no special care or protection is required in the workplace.

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Bruce J. Phillips of Certain-Teed Products Corporation (an asbestos-cement pipe making company).
03/14/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

The proposed regulations would also produce a loss in sales of at least $400 million because of the labeling requirements and the shut down of operations where two fibers [are] technologically unfeasible. A number of companies have already indicated that they do not believe a two-fiber standard is feasible in many operations, and that if such a standard is promulgated, they will close down those operations immediately rather than spend millions of dollars in a vain attempt to achieve the unachievable. The loss of jobs will be substantial.

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Albert H. Fay, vice-president of Gold Bond Building products division of National Gypsum Company. President of the Asbestos Information Association.
03/15/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

In summary, then, the proposed regulation could have a very serious adverse impact on my company, an impact which cannot be justified by any demonstrable benefit to our employees, to the employees of our customers, or to the general public.

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Guy Gabrielson, Jr. President of Nicolet Industries, Incorporated
03/16/1972 | 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.