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 labels prescribed...are not needed for most asbestos-containing products since the asbestos fibers are “locked in” and cannot be released into the air.

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

We have also removed the reference to cancer in the warning sign. Before using such scare tactics in the workplace, we feel much more should be known about the relationship between cancer and asbestos than is known at present.

-
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 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.

-
Edward J. Killian, Vice President for Manufacturing Operations, Gold Bond Building products.
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.

-
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

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.