Why the Government Fails to Limit Many Dangerous Chemicals in the Workplace

NPR by Sharon Lerner

National – Created in 1970 in response to mounting injuries, illnesses and deaths from workplace hazards, OSHA was supposed to issue regulations based on scientific research conducted by its sibling agency, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. At first, the pair got off to a somewhat promising start, with OSHA using NIOSH research to issue more protective standards for lead, arsenic, benzene, asbestos and several other carcinogens. But within a few years, asbestos, which was already well established as a carcinogen, presented a political challenge. “For asbestos, NIOSH said nothing other than a number approaching zero can be considered safe,” said David Rosner, a historian of public health at Columbia University. “But then they sent that science over to OSHA, and OSHA realized if you do that you’re going to have to shut plants everywhere.”  For the full text, click here.