Date of Award

Spring 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Safety and Health Engineering - (M.S.)


Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Howard Gage

Second Advisor

Joseph W. Bozzelli

Third Advisor

Arijit K. Sengupta


One hundred years after it was first mined, several uses of asbestos were banned in the United States. The latency period that typifies asbestos-related diseases was but one factor in the delayed recognition of asbestos as a health hazard. Many other factors delayed the initiation of practical measures to alleviate the hazards.

Controversies surrounding exposure to asbestos continue. Epidemiological studies have answered many questions, but many others are, and may remain, unanswered. Some of the controversies surrounding exposure to asbestos are embedded in the development of the United States of America as a country. An understanding of the historical basis for these controversies helps to explain the present relationships between business, labor, and government, and how these groups view issues of health and safety. Asbestos is an integral part of that history. It is used as the focus of this thesis, to examine the interplay of factors and forces which influenced the development of federal regulation of health and safety in the United States.