Document Type

Article

Publication Date

December 1991

Abstract

The issue of asbestos abatement in buildings may be viewed as part of a larger and more fundamental scientific and social issue: Should asbestos in buildings be regulated on an environmental or an occupational basis? The environmental approach to regulation of hazardous substances has a different emphasis from that of an occupational approach. The environmental approach emphasizes abatement of property damage, while the occupational approach is more concerned with decreased exposure levels and compensation for injuries to health. Similarly, the justifications for the two approaches also have a different emphasis. The need for environmental protection is justified on the basis of diffuse injuries of toxic substances to the general population. In comparison, the justification for regulation of toxic substances in the workplace is based on identifiable injuries to workers. These different justifications have led to some divergence in policy approaches. Thus, this article addresses the issue of abatement of asbestos in buildings in the context of comparing the environmental with the occupational approaches to regulating asbestos in buildings.

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