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Present trends in government activities aimed at regulating mineral dst exposures in the workplace and in the outside environment indicate a future of extremely difficult, if not impossible, operating conditions for producers and users of mineral products. Using inaccurate and simplistic definitions, governmental agencies have unknowingly indicted a large part of the earth's crust as being extremely hazardous and, in the case of asbestos, cancer causing. Using a simplistic definition of what a fiber is, the government has continued to expand the number and variety of minerals suspected of being as hazardous as or worse than asbestos. This is made clear by recent publications of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The NIOSH paper lists, in addition to asbestos varieties, some 40 “nonasbestos” minerals “which may occur in a fibrous state.” MSHA's publication names 152 “minerals that may occur in fibrous habit.”
Talc is one of the nonfibrous minerals that has become a maligned mineral product, partly because of the rather loose use of the term “talc” by industry in referring to a broad variety of minerals, and partly because of definitions applied to associated minerals present in many talc deposits.
Unless the mineral industry, producers, and consumers, as well as mineral scientists, present a united front in demanding participation in the definition of minerals and mineral products by health researchers and scientists, mineral-related businesses will be confronted by regulations that will be, in the author's estimation, not only oppressive and in many cases prohibitive, but also unnecessary.
health-related silicates, regulated minerals, asbestos, asbestos definition, fiber definition, talc, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), tremolite, anthophyllite, epidemiology, New York State talc, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Manager, Research and Development, R. T. Vanderbilt Co. Inc., Norwalk, Conn.