By Andrew RobbinsCSMS Magazine Staff WriterGovernments and corporations have created an illusion of public health and worker safety. Permissible exposure limits (PEL), long thought by the public to protect our families from illness, are failed standards. These antiquated limits are the consequence of corporate scientists and lobbyists swaying statutory guidelines to enhance their employers’ agendas while circumventing consumer safety. For example, in 1938 a federal health bulletin recommended establishment of a statutory limit of 5 million particles in breathable air. The bulletin claimed, “At that level of exposure, workers would not develop asbestosis.” About the same time, the State of Pennsylvania found asbestosis in workers exposed to airborne fiber counts well below 5 million particles. Yet, government and industrial hygienists knowingly set a flawed standard. Amazingly, that PEL went unchallenged and stood as Federal Law for the next 30 years! Today a conspiracy continues. Although exposure limits have been reduced to hundreds of thousands of fibers per day, mineral-particulate exposure victims still develop life-threatening illnesses. Governments (federal and state) and industry refuse to acknowledge that exposure to a single mineral fiber can be the harbinger of illness. By definition, a carcinogen is a substance that causes the development or increases the incidence of cancer. There exists no safe level of exposure to a substance known to cause cancer. In industrial hygiene, it is generally accepted that the greater one’s exposure to a carcinogen, the greater the risk of developing disease. But in truth, the concept of a minimum exposure limit has no value in terms of a carcinogen. Thus, you want to reduce your exposure to the lowest possible level. Over 4,000 earthly minerals are known to exist and not one is safe to inhale. Repeated exposure to any mineral can result in lung disease, mesothelioma, or other cancers throughout your body. Statutory guidelines, PEL, were never intended to prevent illness or death. These obsolete standards were applied to merely postpone worker illness. For decades, politicians have chosen to ignore the findings of medical and environmental research. They have aligned themselves with corporate contributors. Consumer safety has fallen by the wayside. Tax revenue, economic growth, and corporate profits have become higher priorities than public health and worker safety. The financial consequences of this long-standing conspiracy are about to explode. Actuarial data are projecting massive unfunded healthcare costs. As baby boomers near retirement, Federal and State healthcare outlays are forecast to exceed retirement benefits. Illness from mineral particulate is preventable. However, without your involvement, your family’s future is bleak. We can no longer be complacent. At current standards over half our population will develop cancer. Yet, it is estimated eighty percent of all cancers result from exposure to industrial carcinogens and they are preventable. The solution is grassroots efforts to elect political leaders who will work with industry to protect our families. Federally funded research and preventative educational programs are the keys to averting costly illnesses. Collectively voters have the power to influence one half the government/corporate conspiracy. Ultimately, each individual determines if his/her mirror reflects a healthy or an ill image.Note: Andrew Robbins is the author of It Took My Breath Away: One Man’s Experience May Save Your Life.