Trump Exposes Workers to Carcinogenic Dust

Trump's stone cutting deregulation could cost workers lives

With the Trump Administration working to rollback as many as Obama’s legislation’s as possible. In 2016, the Obama Administration passed a bill that would limit the amount of silica dust that employees could potentially inhale to 50 parts-per-million. Silica dust is extremely lethal, with particles infinitely smaller than that of sand, builds up in the lungs and respiratory system, causing tremendous medical problems and eventually death. The bill would help mitigate workplace exposure tremendously, but with Trump vigorously trying to erase the Obama Administration from history, the death toll could continue to rise.

Trump has covered his reasons behind a thin veil of lies. He claims that it is to continue research, to make it safer for the American worker. President Trump has pushed back the bill as long as six months, but there is no telling whether or not it will ever be put into effects.

Silicosis is a silent killer, due to the effects not being visible to the naked eye. Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath are just a few of the symptoms. The effects can be reduced with the proper safety equipment, wetting stone before cutting, or specially designed masks that filter out the dust, but without the safety legislation in place, there is no requirement for employers to adhere to those standards. The results of avoiding preventable exposure are devastating. The new rule would prevent 600 deaths annually, and, while that may not seem like a huge amount, it means that 600 more people are able to live a fuller life with their families. Without the law in place, Trump is putting a huge damper on a greatly needed industry.

OSHA agrees that the Obama-made legislation would be one of the most important health standards in decades, but people opposed to the law (namely businesses) balk at the price tag. However, nay-sayers are not looking at the long-term benefits. An additional safety measure that not only cuts down the mortality rate of inhaled silica dust, but also the medical bills and the cost associated with bringing new people into the industry. The profit would be over 7 billion annually. Supporters of the rule aren’t looking at preliminary expenses; they are looking at lives saved. To push back the law, or to destroy it entirely, would be only the beginning of the death of American workers.