OSHA''s warning to mechanics that exposure to asbestos in brakes can cause deadly disease will not be removed from a federal Web site, OSHA officials said.
The safety bulletin was posted on the OSHA Web site in July, but was called scientifically invalid by industries that use asbestos. "There is no proof of asbestos in brakes ever harming those working on or around them. Not a single case has ever been documented. Not one," Michael Palese, a spokesman for Daimler-Chrysler Corp.''s legal communications, told The Baltimore Sun. Palese pointed to 18 studies that showed the absence of danger from asbestos in brakes.
Richard Lemen, former acting director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and a former assistant U.S. surgeon general, and other public health experts have presented case studies and medical records of scores of brake and friction-material workers who were reportedly sickened or killed by asbestos-related diseases.
Physicians and scientists from OSHA, the EPA and NIOSH have said that asbestos exposure can cause asbestosis, cancer and mesothelioma.
"Nothing has changed. We consider asbestos to be a health hazard regardless of its source," said Joe Burkhart, deputy director of the Division of Respiratory Disease Studies for NIOSH. OSHA director Edwin Foulke called for the warning to stay on the Web site until "a thorough review" had been done of all the information on which the bulletin was based. The review was completed, and no need was found to remove or modify the bulletin, according to a senior Labor Department official, who requested anonymity because agency policy does not permit him to speak on the record.
OSHA: asbestos warning stays (12/18)
December 18, 2006