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Should Workplace Asbestos Exposure be Less Protected than the General Population?

When it comes to asbestos cancer risks, should workers be treated differently than the general population? That is the question posed in a recent blog opinion published by the Environmental Defense Fund. Unfortunately, the EPA’s recently proposed rule to manage the risk from chrysotile asbestos, discriminates against what is an acceptable risk for workers compared to everyone else from its use of a consumer product.

The EPA states that “cancer risk from chrysotile asbestos of less than one in 10,000 is generally acceptable for workers. If finalized, this would allow for 100 times less protection for workers. The threshold for everyone else is one in one million. As we know, there is no safe level of exposure to asbestos.

As stated by the EDF’s blog author:

Treating the risks faced by workers equitably is not the trade-off in jobs it may have been 50 years ago. So why does EPA buy into the belief that you sign up for a higher risk of cancer when you cash your first paycheck? […] Risks that are considered unreasonable risks for the general population should not be considered reasonable for workers. We encourage EPA to change their approach to cancer benchmarks so that risks faced by workers are considered equitably.”

To read the entire blog, please click here.

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