Rates of Asbestos Exposure and Disease
From the 1930s until the early 1980s, the nation consumed millions of tons of asbestos-containing materials in almost every facet of infrastructure.
Government regulations gradually placed severe limits on asbestos production at the end of the 20th century. However, many workers are still at risk of asbestos exposure today.
Asbestos Exposure in the U.S.
Over 27 million Americans had direct asbestos exposure in their workplace.
People who worked with asbestos have the highest risk of health problems, while others experienced secondary exposure by handling workers’ contaminated clothes, equipment and even riding in vehicles loaded with asbestos dust.
Rates of asbestos-related diseases increase for people who had continuous, long-term exposure to large amounts of asbestos.
The longer someone is exposed to asbestos materials, and the greater the volume of fiber intake, the higher the probability of developing an asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos Exposure Permissible Level
Regardless of dose and duration, all authorities now agree there’s no such thing as a safe exposure to asbestos.
Though it is no longer used frequently, some older buildings, vehicles, and worksites may still contain asbestos materials.
All that can be done to reduce worker health risk from asbestos today is to follow regulatory standards and suggested best practices for handling asbestos-containing products.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), set an industry standard for dangerous asbestos air quantity.
Industry Standard Asbestos Exposure Level
The current permissible exposure level (PEL) for all workers is 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter (f/cc).
This equation is expressed as 0.1 f/cc. It’s steadily decreased over the 1970s and 1980s when the original suspected safe PEL was set at 12.0 f/cc. Any airborne asbestos exposure above the PEL is prohibited unless workers are trained in asbestos abatement techniques.
Asbestos Exposure Safety Standards
Anyone exposed to asbestos levels over the PEL must be equipped with personal protective equipment including HEPA-rated respirators and approved safety clothing.
Thousands came into contact with asbestos on a regular basis. Get a free legal case review to find out if you may have been exposed.
Managing asbestos exposure needs a common sense approach. Asbestos products that have been long installed, sealed and left alone are considered safe.