HC Deb 31 October 1979 vol 972 cc533-4W
Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on what are acceptable levels of white asbestos dust to which workers should be exposed.

Mr. Mayhew

I am informed by the chairman of the Health and Safety Commission that, as practical guidance in complying with the Asbestos Regulations 1969 and the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974, occupational exposure to dust from all forms of asbestos should be reduced to the minimum reasonably practicable. In addition, in the case of white—chrysotile—asbestos, occupational exposure should never exceed 2 fibres/ml when measurements are averaged over a four-hour sampling period. Short-term occupational exposures should not exceed 12 fibres/ml when measured over any ten minute period.

In its final report the advisory committee on asbestos has recommended retention of the first criterion and a more stringent limit for the maximum occupational exposure to dust from white—chrysotile—asbestos of 1 fibre/ml—averaged over a four-hour sampling period—from 1 December 1980. The Health and Safety Commission has invited comments on this and other recommendations in the advisory committee's final report and, when these have been assessed, will advise on appropriate future action.

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