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 component in many of these products is not asbestos. Paints and plastics contain less than 127 percent asbestos by weight, asbestos cement products less than 25%...

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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.

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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

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

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

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.