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Asbestos Exposure Limits

Asbestos exposure limits are set by several different government agencies in the U.S. Asbestos is present at very low levels in the environment — in the soil, water and air — and the concept of "asbestos exposure limits" refers to artificial asbestos contexts such as when asbestos is mined, milled, or added to the manufacture of products that are installed or used in a huge variety of applications.

The importance of asbestos exposure limits is clear when the dangers of asbestos exposure for humans and animals are considered — respiratory disorders such as asbestosis, lung cancers, and mesothelioma cancer are all potential outcomes of asbestos exposure. Federal, state and local government agencies in the U.S. and their counterparts in many other countries have devised asbestos exposure limits in an effort to control the epidemic of asbestos diseases around the world.

OSHA Asbestos Exposure Limits

For example, OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) issued two asbestos exposure limit standards in 1986:

  • one for construction workplaces
  • another for general industry workplaces

For both standards, the asbestos exposure limit was reduced by tenfold, from 2 fibers per cubic centimeter (cc) to 0.2 fibers/cc. For the construction workplaces standard, special provisions were added that take into account the asbestos hazards involved in demolition and asbestos abatement projects.

Asbestos in Drinking Water

In another example of an asbestos exposure limit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established a maximum of 7,000 asbestos fibers per cubic centimeter of drinking water. This means that less than 7,000 asbestos fibers per cc of the water that Americans are drinking is considered permissible by the federal government.

A third example is the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), which deals with significant levels of asbestos in industrial settings such as mines and mills. MSHA asbestos exposure limits are very lengthy and detailed.

Learn More about Asbestos Exposure Limits

For more information about asbestos exposure limits, contact the mesothelioma center today.

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