Which Asbestos Products Are Still Legal Today?
The use of asbestos has been regulated by the government in the 1970s, which led to a significant decrease in asbestos consumption. Moreover, in 1989 the Environmental Protection Agency has managed to implement a law which states that any new asbestos-containing product needs an EPA approval in order to be marketed.
But there are still a lot of products which can put people at risk for asbestos exposure. For instance, the use of this toxic mineral in all asbestos-containing products marketed before 1989 is still legal. More than 10.000 metric tons of asbestos has been used in 2001 only in the U.S. and a lot of products with historical uses of the mineral, like cement pipes, are imported every year for various reasons.
Authorized Asbestos-containing Products
While the list of banned products contains commercial paper, flooring felt and new products containing more than 1% asbestos, it is rather short compared to the list of authorized ones. Despite the fact that asbestos exposure has been found to cause deadly diseases, it is still used in a wide variety of building materials and puts everyone at risk for home exposure.
The EPA has managed to prohibit the use of asbestos in a few products like boilers, friable insulation and hot water tanks. However, you should be careful when working with the following products as asbestos continues to be used for their production:
- Floor tiles
- Roofing products
- Cement sheets
- Pipeline wrap
- Sealant tape
Dangerous Products in Other Industries
Asbestos-containing products are used in other industries, as well. We listed a few of them:
- Vehicle Components. Asbestos is commonly used in vehicle parts such as brake pads, gaskets and clutches, which is why a significant number of mechanics develop asbestos-related diseases. By vehicle, we refer to more than cars. Bicycles, airplanes and ships can also contain this dangerous mineral.
- Fire Resistant Clothing. This mineral can offer fire and heat protection if used for clothing items. Although its use is prohibited for any kind of clothes, fireproof clothing for firefighters approved by the Consumer Products Safety Commission still contains asbestos.
- Cigarettes. As asbestos is able to provide heat resistance, it started to be used for cigarette filters. However, it is no longer used nowadays even though the use of the mineral, for this reason, is not banned.
Health Effects of Asbestos Exposure
It is very important for people to know that they can get exposed to asbestos almost anywhere, even at home. So take extra care when performing DIY renovations and make sure to understand and respect your state's requirements regarding activities like building, demolishing or renovating a house.
Accidentally inhaling asbestos fibers has been found to cause serious health problems. Once they get into the lungs, they can affect the pleura and lead to severe respiratory problems. Exposure to high levels of asbestos can even cause death.
Do not get fooled by the misconception that asbestos is exposure is not a problem anymore. People are still put at risk every day and staying informed and aware of the danger is essential. Try to use asbestos-free products as much as possible and always contact professional companies to remove the troublesome products safely, if necessary.