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Proper personal protective equipment is essential when working in asbestos environments. Employers should provide sufficient and clean protective clothing and respirators to workers prior to any work which involves exposure to asbestos. A Personal Protective Equipment Program must be included in the employer's OHS management system. It is important to know how to use the equipment properly - how to check that it fits, when to wear it and how to keep it clean and free from asbestos dust. Also workers should know who is responsible for maintaining protective equipment, changing the filter and storing it to keep it clean when not in use. Personal protective clothing given to asbestos workers should include coveralls, head coverings, overboots and gloves. Disposable coveralls: A polyester/cotton mix may prove more suitable in warm environment. Re-usable protective clothing: After use, clothing must be vacuumed, placed in approved "Asbestos" bags, and taken to an industrial laundry with facilities for asbestos decontamination. Dusty protective clothing can spread asbestos. Employees should not try to clean dust off by beating it with hands or using a brush or air-hose to blow it away. An industrial vacuum cleaner can help remove dust from protective clothes. Asbestos workers must not take work clothes home to ensure that family members are not exposed to asbestos dust from clothing. Workers should not wash protective clothing themselves. This clothing requires special laundering to ensure asbestos decontamination. Employers should provide a clean area for employees to change and store their own clothes separate from the place for storing protective clothing. Showers and washbasins must be provided for workers to wash before putting on their own clothes to go home. For more information on asbestos abatement PPE, go to http:// . Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. has not banned asbestos. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently estimated that at least 10,000 people die each year from asbestos-related diseases. Asbestos exposure is linked to asbestosis, lung & gastrointestinal cancers, and an aggressive cancer called mesothelioma. Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause permanent and irreversible damage to vital organs. Disease occurs 10 -- 50 years after exposure. Between 1900 and the mid 1980s, asbestos was used in over 3,000 different products. During the 20th century, more than 30 million tons of asbestos were used in industrial facilities, homes, schools, shipyards, steel mills, power plants and commercial buildings in the United States. For current information on asbestos, the hazards of exposure and to learn how you can help prevent asbestos-related disease, link to and join the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), an independent organization founded in 2004. ADAO seeks to give asbestos victims and concerned citizens a united voice to raise public awareness about the dangers of asbestos exposure. ADAO is the largest victims' organization dedicated to preventing asbestos-related diseases through education and legislation. ADAO's mission includes supporting global advocacy and advancing asbestos awareness, prevention, early detection, treatment, and resources for asbestos-related disease. For more information visit This is clipped from the 1980 film Asbestos at the Work Site produced by the US Navy. The film describes the Navy's health program for asbestos work sites and workers engaged in asbestos installation or removal. It provides a clinical description of asbestos-related diseases and exposures. The program is based on OPNAVINST 6260.1A. The technology and work procedures for performing asbestos work is described, along with the proper use of personal protective garments, breathing systems and tools. The film was intended for Navy shipyard employees and Navy active duty personnel, ship repair and maintenance activities involving asbestos work. The entire film is available the US National Archive at College Park, Maryland.
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