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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Risk Assessments for Asbestos Present Difficulties

For decades asbestos has been known human carcinogen and major health hazard causally related to asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. It is still not banned in the United States. Recent efforts to provide statistics assessments of the hazard haven’t proven to be unsuccessful.

A study published in the September 2009 issue of The American Journal of Industrial Medicine concludes, None of the efforts to use statistical models to characterize relative cancer potencies for asbestos fiber types and sizes have been able to overcome limitations of the exposure data. Resulting uncertainties have been so great that these estimates should not be used to drive occupational and environmental health policy. The EPA has now rejected and discontinued work on its proposed methods for estimating potency factors. Future efforts will require new methods and more precise and reliable exposure assessments. However, while there may be genuine need for such work, a more pressing priority with regard to the six regulated forms of asbestos and other asbestiform fibers is to ban their production and use.”

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