Asbestos Minerals for Sale
Contrary to popular belief, asbestos is not entirely banned in the U.S. While a series of regulations have been enforced by federal agencies such as EPA and OSHA since 1973, when the mineral was officially declared carcinogenic, certain applications are still allowed. Although new uses of asbestos are strictly forbidden, products which contained it in the past are currently permitted. Therefore, various asbestos-containing products continue to be manufactured throughout the country, even though their prevalence is substantially lower than it was five decades ago.
Nowadays, approximately 1,000 metric tons of asbestos are consumed in the U.S. every year, which is one hundred times less than the annual amount employed during the mid 1960s. The public acknowledgement of the health hazard asbestos implies and the strict regulations which came into effect by virtue of government agencies are the primary factors which contributed to this dramatic decrease in asbestos consumption. As a result, asbestos mining ceased in 2002, with the closing of the last operating chrysotile mine in San Benito, California.
Which New Products May Contain Asbestos Today?
Since the import of asbestos is also legal at the moment, this toxic mineral can be found in several products manufactured in the U.S. The largest suppliers of raw asbestos worldwide include Canada, India, Brazil, and China. Approximately 57% of the asbestos imported in the country is used by the chloroalkali industry to convert brine into chlorine. However, it is employed by the construction, automotive, and textile industries as well, so we strongly advise you to always check the label before purchasing one of these products:
- pipeline wrap
- vinyl floor tiles
- cement corrugated sheets
- disk brake pads
- roof coatings
- cement pipes
- automatic transmission components
- clutch facings
- cement flat sheets
- roofing felt
- drum brake linings
- fireproof clothing
- potting soils
It is worthy of note that nowadays, asbestos in consumer products is rigorously controlled for safety reasons. Thereby, manufacturers are not allowed to make products containing more than 1% asbestos. The majority of these products are non-friable, which means that the risk of exposure is minimal when they are in good condition. Nevertheless, as wear and tear will gradually lead to deterioration and may also cause certain materials to become brittle, the likelihood of toxic fibers escaping will increase considerably over time. Asbestos may also be present in products manufactured outside the U.S., as there are numerous countries where the mineral is massively employed.
The crux of the matter is that there is no safe exposure to asbestos. Even though studies found that the chances of developing a disease are slim when the concentration of airborne fibers is low, as well as when exposure is short-lived, it is not impossible to be affected by asbestos under such circumstances either. Regardless of how exposure occurs, it always implies a health risk, to a greater or lesser extent.
We highly recommend you to avoid buying asbestos products, especially since there are numerous high-quality and accessible alternatives. Manufacturers are required to include asbestos in the Material Safety Data Sheet accompanying most products which are likely to contain it, so you can easily find out whether it is present in the item in question by consulting this document.
Numerous materials have similar properties as asbestos without being carcinogenic. The substitutes below can successfully replace most asbestos-containing products:
- Cellulose fiber. This material is very suitable for insulation and is also environmentally friendly, since up to 85% of it is recycled. Cellulose fiber is made from finely shredded newsprint and has a high resistance to fire. A significant benefit of this asbestos alternative is that using it can reduce energy costs with up to 30% per year.
- Polyurethane foam. With excellent thermal resistance, polyurethane foam is a low-cost alternative to asbestos which is primarily used for roofing materials, including insulation. It is generally suitable for temperatures under 250 degrees Fahrenheit and also very safe, as it does not release toxic gases. Similarly to cellulose fiber, this material can decrease energy costs with 30-35% annually.
- Amorphous silica fabric. Due to their remarkable fireproofing properties, amorphous silica fabrics have started to be employed by a wide range of industries, such as aerospace, electric power, metal, and shipbuilding. This asbestos alternative is most commonly used for insulation, as well as for protection purposes. However, amorphous silica fabric is not appropriate for residential buildings, as it contains fiberglass.
- Flour fillers. As another completely safe asbestos substitute, flour fillers entail the use of natural resources such as wheat flour, pecan shell flour, rice flour or rice hull ash for insulating purposes. They serve as crack and crevice fillers or extenders.
- Thermoset plastic flour. There are multiple applications of thermoset plastic flour, from automotive components like brake linings to electrical insulation. It has also become quite popular in the construction industry, as this material has great heat resistance and excellent sound absorption properties. Thremoset plastic flour is low-cost and can replace a wide range of asbestos products.