Excerpt from: When is a Life Too Costly to Save? The Evidence from U.S. Environmental Regulations [abstract, paper]

"There is well-documented epidemiological evidence as well as support from animal studies indicating that some forms of asbestos are human carcinogens. This evidence is particularly strong for lung cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung or abdominal lining. Estimating the number of cancer cases associated with a particular asbestos-containing product (e.g. brakes lined with asbestos) requires estimates of the potency of asbestos -- the likelihood of developing cancer as a function of asbestos exposure -- as well as an estimate of exposure the number of fibers inhaled as a result of using the product. In the Regulatory Impact Analysis accompanying EPA’s final rule, the agency presented, for each product, exposure estimates in millions of fibers inhaled per year for
various groups of workers and for consumers, as well as the number of cancer cases associated with each source of asbestos. Table I presents EPA’s estimates, on a product-by-product basis, of the number of cancer cases that would be avoided if each product were banned in 1992. EPA was able to estimate these, and the cost of the ban, for 31 of the 39 products considered for regulation. Estimates of cancer cases avoided are based on 13 years of exposure, since the agency assumed that asbestos would be phased out of these products after a 13-year period." (p. 350).