Corporate Resistance to Asbestos Regulations

The 1970s saw of a flurry of new legislation intended to curb the presence of toxic substances, with the Toxic Substances Control Act passed in 1976. Still, companies continued to battle against these new regulations.

Our item today comes from the vaults of the Kaiser Gypsum Company, a former producer of building products withlarge amounts of asbestos.

It's a letter to the Kaiser Gypsum Company from their asbestos supplier, Calidria Asbestos, and a response to revised regulations from the newly created Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Dated February 4, 1972, the letter noted that the EPA “issued proposed standards which would govern emissions from plants and certain job sites.”

In response to this proposed rule, Calidria Asbestos attempted to narrow the purview of the rule. They interpreted it as "ban[ning] only the spraying of asbestos insulation" or "gross negligence which has been inherent in this operation."

When asked by the Kaiser Gymnasium Company about asbestos toxicology and ways their methods should be modified, Calidria added that the new rules "seem unnecessarily restrictive."

Asbestos companies sought to curb the new restrictions that were being passed limiting asbestos exposure. They not only tried to argue with federal agencies in order to obtain less stringent legislation. They also sought to bend the definitions that were given in the proposals (like that of “spraying”) in order to keep selling their product.

At the end of Calidria’ letter, they promote new asbestos products, writing that they "would like to end this with a brief commercial..." and that they "look forward to supplying more of your asbestos requirements in 1972."

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