- freely available
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1302; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14111302
“Asbestos dust is, perhaps, the best-documented industrial toxin in history…”.
2. Historical Use of Asbestos in the United States
“…made known to the world his discovery of the practical value of this remarkable mineral, and the nature of his patented inventions. That he has labored intelligently in this comparatively new field is proven by a gratifying success and a world-wide reputation, for his asbestos products are in use wherever materials for structural and mechanical purposes are employed.”
“Small wonder, then, that when asbestos, which had been known to the ancients as ‘the magic mineral,’ was in effect, rediscovered less than a hundred years ago in the age of industrial expansion, it was put to work.”
“Asbestos is the only mineral that can be woven into cloth, and its fibrous structure is, if anything, even more amazing than its remarkable ability to withstand heat. In fact, if it were not for the electron microscope, the extent to which asbestos is fibrous would be difficult to believe, for there are approximately a million individual fibrils lying side by side in a linear inch of chrysotile asbestos, whereas only thirty-eight hundred glass fibrils, such as those found in various insulation material, or six hundred and thirty human hairs can be aligned along the same distance. Moreover, in addition to their extreme fineness, high tensile strength, unusual flexibility, spinnability, and resistance to heat and the elements, asbestos fibres possess great powers to adsorb and to filter.”
3. Health Impact and Its Effect on Regulation and Banning
“Nevertheless, asbestosis, because of its dangers and its unique pathologic features, deserves more attention than it has had.”
“The steadily increasing use of asbestos in industrial processes has created a new occupational risk and added to the list of industrial lung affections a new form of chronic pulmonary fibrosis.”
“Very few data are available on the relation of dust concentration to the incidence of the disease. No minimal safe concentrations have yet been set up and information is scant as to the conditions in those plants where a hazard is known to exist. It has been determined, however, that the asbestos dust encountered in fabricating plants is free of silica when air is floated at the breathing level and that the danger of the dust increases as the quality or length of the fibers increases.”
“Cancers of the respiratory tract involving the mucosa of the nose, the antral cavities, the larynx, the bronchi and lung occur in workers who are exposed to the inhalation of chrome salts, asbestos dust and nickel carbonyl.”
“The evidence indicating the existence of causal relations between asbestosis and cancer of the lung has received additional support during recent years from several countries (United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, and France)” and observed that when exposure to asbestos is equal between the sexes so is their “liability to cancer”
“Pulmonary carcinoma has been observed with such high frequency in employees of the asbestos industry that a causal relationship has been accepted by most authorities.”
4. Efforts to Regulate and Ban Asbestos in the United States Prior to Passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
“the threshold limits are nothing but educated guesses,” and “there is still one group of substances for which some method should be devised for establishing safe air standards—the industrial carcerigens (sp.).” He recommended “…adding a safety factor for carcinogenicity. The magnitude of the safety factor is suggested to be from 100 to 500.”
5. Impact of the Occupational Safety and Health Act on Regulation and Banning of Asbestos
“It is depressing to report, in 1970 that the disease that we knew well 40 years ago is still with us just as if nothing was ever known.”
“5 million particles per cu. Ft., are simply standards, although I hope I did not use the word ’safe.’ These are standards which are actually used, although they are not ever expressed as being safe standards.”
“Due to the sampling and analytical difficulties concerning asbestos, manufactures of asbestos-containing products such as construction materials should perform detailed monitoring of exposures which could result from all foreseeable uses of their products, including misuse. This monitoring should include electron microscopy to identify fiber types mix and exposures to fibers less than 5 μm in length. This monitoring data should accompany these products downstream so the users not only know that asbestos exposures may occur, but also know the nature of potential exposures.”
“One major reason for the delay in banning this known carcinogen: private industry trade groups stifled earlier efforts at regulations.”
“Therefore, before the Secretary can promulgate any permanent health or safety standard, he must make a threshold finding that the place of employment is unsafe in the sense that significant risks are present and can be eliminated or lessened by a change in practices.”
- Cement corrugated sheet
- Cement flat sheet
- Pipeline wrap
- Roofing felts
- Vinyl floor tile
- Cement shingle
- Cement pipe
- Automatic transmission components
- Clutch facings
- Friction materials
- Disk brake pads
- Drum brake linings
- Brake blocks
- Non-roofing coatings
- Roof coatings
“It is unlikely that the authors of the OSHA Act envisioned an agency working on asbestos standards from its inception in 1971 to 1998.”
“The profound tragedy of the asbestos pandemic is that all illnesses and deaths related to asbestos are preventable.”
“Under the new Act, a risk evaluation of asbestos is to be completed within three years and, if asbestos is found to be an ‘unreasonable risk to humans and the environment,’ the EPA is required to mitigate that risk, possibly through a ban, within two more years.”
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