Share to

Is Asbestos Banned in the US?

Once recognized in the world for its incredible versatility, heat resistance, tensile strength, and insulating properties asbestos has become the black sheep of the family.

The naturally occurring mineral has been demoted by several countries over the past few years from its high perch. Used for everything from fire-proof vests to home and commercial construction, asbestos has become a topic no one wants to talk about now.

Asbestos Usage, the United States and International Uproar

The naturally occurring material was used widely for various usages. In fact, the United States military approved use of asbestos in every branch of service! Asbestos was perfect in every sense of the word except… it was highly toxic.

Health Concerns after Exposure to Asbestos

Occupational, environmental, and secondhand factors are usually behind exposure to asbestos. Exposure to asbestos has been linked to serious cancers and respiratory diseases including:

  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Asbestosis

Today more than 50 countries have banned asbestos while its usage has been restricted dramatically in others. Where does USA stand in this controversial issue?

History of Asbestos – When Researchers Found Out the Real Picture of Asbestos

Although evidence against asbestos use was presented during the 1920s, it wasn’t until mid-20th century that researchers connected asbestos exposure with serious health concerns including respiratory conditions and cancer. However by then it was too late! Millions of workers had already been exposed wherever this mineral and its various types were used. Limits by the federal government (regarding asbestos use and exposure) were imposed in 1972; even then an estimated 10,000 people continue to die each year from exposure related illnesses.

Is Asbestos Use Banned In The U.S.?

Not really. The United States is actually one of the few major industrialized nations that still use asbestos in all its forms. This naturally occurring mineral is still being used to manufacture friction products, gaskets, roofing materials, fireproofing materials, and many other consumer products.

Confusion can rise regarding asbestos ban in the U.S. as the country hasn’t fully banned this toxic material yet regulates use of asbestos. Various regulatory acts were implemented throughout the 70s and 80s.

Clean Air Act of 1970

This act was passed and implemented in 1970 and was the first one (in U.S.) to classify asbestos as a hazardous air pollutant. The Clean Air Act gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency leeway to regulate usage and disposal of asbestos as they saw fit. Spray-applied asbestos based products were banned altogether due to this act.

Toxic Substances Control Act

Passed in 1976, the TSCA act went one step ahead in the regulation of asbestos. This act tried to eradicate or at least decrease use of certain toxic chemicals like radon and lead based paint besides asbestos. Restrictions were placed on industries manufacturing these chemical based products.

Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act

Established in 1986, the Environmental Protection Agency placed certain and specific standards as per requirements set by the AHERA. The act featured correct standards and protocol to use when inspecting schools. Asbestos removal was also featured.

The EPA along with other U.S. agencies conducted more studies during these decades, to determine safest possible and permissible level of asbestos exposure. Even today, we don’t have a measurement of how much is asbestos exposure is safe for people. It’s often better to be safe than sorry. Call ACI-Tech Inc. at (610) 497-7162, today.