Posted on April 1, 2023
On April 30th, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) announced the “Dirty Dozen” list of employers, showcasing which corporations put workers and communities at risk due to unsafe practices. The Dirty Dozen report is released each year as part of the observance of International Workers’ Memorial Day.
Many noteworthy companies are on this year’s “Dirty Dozen” list for worrisome safety practices. Amazon, FedEx, Tyson, and various railroad companies are featured alongside Occidental Chemical (OxyChem), who continue to import and use asbestos in their chlor-alkali facilities.
As reported by ProPublica, OxyChem has also been linked to exposing workers, their families and communities to deadly asbestos. As of April 2023, OxyChem is the only chlor-alkali company still importing and using raw chrysotile asbestos. The asbestos remains in use in five of its plants located in Kansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Asbestos exposure claims the lives of over 40,000 Americans every year, yet companies like OxyChem knowingly endanger their workers by continuing to import and use this deadly substance.
The Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now (ARBAN) Act of 2023, a comprehensive asbestos ban, would ban all asbestos fibers and the Libby Amphibole in all uses, unlike the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Part 1 Chrysotile Asbestos proposed final rule that bans just one fiber in six conditions of use.
The dangers of asbestos have been known for decades, and most companies have switched to demonstrably safer as well as economically and environmentally sustainable alternatives. Nearly 70 other countries have banned asbestos entirely yet OxyChem denies the science and continues to import and use the carcinogen. OxyChem’s negligent actions puts not only their workers at risk of fatal and incurable diseases, but also workers’ families, friends, and communities.
We must remain vigilant in advocating for a complete ban on asbestos imports and use, as well as for the health and safety of workers in all industries. To support ban asbestos efforts, sign our Change.org petition and send a letter to Congress to ban asbestos in the United States today! Together, we are making change happen.