Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Kucinich Report Shows Weak Enforcement of Auto Repair Asbestos Regs

Congressman Dennis Kucinich's office released a report last week that analyzed violations of asbestos regulations promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in auto repair facilities from 1973-2003. The study found that
Despite long-standing scientific agreement on the serious and potentially fatal hazards of working with asbestos, this study shows that OSHA's enforcement of asbestos regulations in this field has been rare, and rarer still since 2000. The findings show that auto repair workers are unaware of the presence of asbestos in the materials they use, employers do not monitor for the presence of asbestos, yet workers are exposed to high levels of asbestos. Most OSHA violations are the result of complaints, not from routine programs or surprise inspections by OSHA or any other testing agency.
The study reported that the U.S. consumed 288 tons of asbestos containing friction products in 2002.

This study follows a November 2003 petition by the lawfirm Morgan, Lewis and Bockius to EPA requesting that the agency "stop distributing warning booklets, posters and videotapes that give mechanics guidance on the need to protect themselves from asbestos," calling the material "alarmist and inflammatory."