California Air Resources Board takes Measures to Protect Workers

California Air Resources Board has approved rules for reducing the risk of asbestos exposure in mining and construction sites. This rule comes in the wake of growing concern regarding asbestos exposure. Inhalation of asbestos particles is the reason for mesothelioma cancer, lung cancer, asbestosis and other deadly diseases. Mesothelioma cancers- malignant and pleural mesothelioma are very dangerous cancers of the lining of the lungs and abdomen. Patients suffering from mesothelioma cancer have a very weak rather negligible chance of survival beyond 12-24 months.

According to rule, the builders and miners must take adequate measures to reduce dust emission in areas that have asbestos containing rock. The rule stipulates that all construction sites of more than one acre should develop a dust control plan. The builders and miners must use water during grading and excavation work to reduce emission of asbestos dust. The rule also has provisions related to treatment of unpaved roads with water and chemical dust suppressants and taking steps to prevent transportation of dust to adjacent roads. Moreover, the quarries must take adequate measures to control and reduce asbestos emissions from rock crushers, conveyors and storage piles.

These rules have come into force in the wake of growing number of asbestos related problems in El Dorado County, California. El Dorado has large amounts of natural serpentine rocks and soil. Serpentine rock and soil has large concentrations of asbestos. Asbestos contaminated serpentine rock and soil was widely used in roads, pathways, driveways and playgrounds in this area. Distribution of serpentine rocks and soil during construction, road building and mining operations could increase the possibilities of asbestos exposure.

The rules would be helpful in protecting California residents from unwanted asbestos exposure. Avoiding asbestos inhalation is the only protection against mesothelioma cancers, lung cancers, asbestosis and other diseases associated with asbestos poisoning. Previously, the board has also reduced permissible amount of asbestos in rocks for use in road surfacing and ornamental applications.

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