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

I urge you and others involved in the preparation of this Standard to avoid hasty decisions that may place unnecessary economic burdens on the companies that will be forced to comply, with the possible ultimate result putting them in a position where they will no longer be able to compete.

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James D. Moran of the The Flintkote Company, a major producer of construction materials and services.
03/09/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

Minimally, these actions would generate costs incalculable, yet STAGGERING [format from original].

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Thomas J. Gryl, National Safety Director for Brand Insulations Inc.
02/11/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

Such a label would surely spell the demise of a number of major product lines of the industry....there is no doubt that our competitors will attempt to take advantage of the situation by encouraging the public to avoid asbestos-containing products because of the potential health hazards implied in the warning label, even though to the customer no such hazard exists.

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Matthew M. Swetonic, Executive Secretary of the Asbestos Information Association. [OSHA would place a label on every product containing more than 5% asbestos by weight reading: “Do not breath dust--may cause asbestosis and cancer”.]
03/15/1972 | Full Details | Law(s): OSHA's Asbestos Standard

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

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.