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Researchers have found that Asbestos workers who also smoke increase their risk of contracting lung cancer 70 to 80 times greater than the general population.
Fortunately the exposures to asbestos available today are generally much lower, and the amount of cigarettes smoked daily much less, than in the 1950’s when these studies were conducted with shipyard workers. Obviously, it is better to avoid cigarette smoke and asbestos disturbance altogether whenever possible in order to eliminate as much risk as possible
People ask “which agency is responsible for asbestos regulations?” The answer is “Both”.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1982 was charged protecting the environment from asbestos in K-12 schools nationwide in the USA. Prior to that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had developed regulations to protect Manufacturing employees. Later, OSHA promulgated regulations for the construction industry as well, which affect all employees.The EPA regulations require training for workers and specify responsibilities for local education agencies (LEA’s) and public building owners while OSHA regulations are primarily directed towards employer responsibilities. While there may be some overlap in the requirements, all must be addressed in order to comply.
Researchers in Baltimore studied children who were diagnosed as lead poisoned between 1931 and 1951
And were astounded to find that out of 283 children studied, almost one third died as a result of their lead exposure.
Since many of these children grew up in housing that was managed by the Housing and Urban Development Agency HUD was encouraged to institute guidelines which have become “state-of-the-art” for workplace guidance for regulators across the US. Since much of the exposure to lead comes from lead based paint it is imperative that workers are aware of the dangers and good work practices as specified by the Hazard Communication Standard. For more information
The California Department of Education has defined loose and peeling lead based paint on school buildings as a “Hazard”.
This followed release by experts of the astounding information that “an ingested paint chip the size of a dime, with 15% lead, could be fatal for a child up to 5 years of age.” Awareness of all workers is absolutely necessary in order to prevent availability of lead hazards for children, building occupants and staff.
OSHA and the EPA have published far reaching regulations These require all employees who come into contact with Asbestos but do not disturb it, have Two Hour Asbestos Awareness Annual Training Required by OSHA. Lead Hazard Communication is also required annually.
Under the Hazard Communication standard, employers are required to provide annual training to employees who encounter hazards in the workplace, including Lead, which is found in many common workplace products from keys to paint.