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

Past experience would indicate that in a sizable number of operations it will be impossible to reduce the levels to two fibers, no matter how much money is spent. In these cases, the operations obviously would have to be shut down and the men thrown out of work. We have a very rough idea at this time how large a segment of the manufacturing industry would be affected ion this manner, but an estimate of perhaps 15% to 20% seems reasonable.

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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

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

Let me state, first, that achievement of a standard of 2 fibers per cc is not, at the present time, technically feasible in all areas of our manufacturing operations. Thus, I cannot estimate fully the total final economic impact on our business, or the total final capital investment required.

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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

One must keep in mind that certain of the above products are consumer oriented....A Warning label would be a substantial and unnecessary deterrent to the sale of these products. Since these products are not hazardous under any conditions, they should not be labeled as such. Their demise would mean the abolition of thousands of jobs at the manufacturing, distribution, contractor, and retailer levels.

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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.