Is Asbestos Illegal? Not Exactly

For several decades now it has been well-known that asbestos poses serious health risks to people that come in contact with it.

In fact, the health risks are so well known that many people assume, incorrectly, that it is banned in the United States. The sad fact of the matter is that not only is it not banned, it continues to be imported and used in many items to this day.

asbestos-exposed-in-a-residential-tile-roof

Although we may know, ourselves, that this product is dangerous, it doesn’t change the fact that we are still likely to come in contact with it.

This daily contact can lead to serious health risks, such as the fatal mesothelioma, which means that we should be paying special attention to the current state of asbestos in the United States.

Worldwide Asbestos Commerce Regulation History in the U.S.

Though asbestos has been established as a deadly substance in the United States, it has faced few repercussions in the world of commerce. Huge gains were actually made in the banning of asbestos in 1989 when the EPA issued a rule against the majority of asbestos-containing products, however, this ruling was overturned in 1991 and importation has steadily remained in the U.S. ever since.

In a country that is founded on free trade and capitalism, the health risks have done very little to deter businesses from profiting from the material that has been established as a known carcinogen.

Because asbestos is not actually banned in the U.S., many companies import the product from other countries such as Russia, Brazil and China (to name a few). While many countries acknowledge that asbestos definitely poses health risks, very few make moves to outlaw the product since the U.S., a major world leader in commerce, still imports it each year.

To be clear, the U.S is not a major world leader in asbestos commerce. Instead, developing countries, such as those in Asia and Eastern Europe, depend on the asbestos industry to help boost their developing economies.

The United States serves as a sort of precedent in what is allowable and what is marketable in the world of commerce, meaning that its lenient laws and “look-the- other-way” policies have only helped asbestos spread further into trade commerce across the world.

What’s Banned?

What is actually banned in the U.S. is very limited compared to what should be with the known damage that asbestos causes. Here is the list:

  • Corrugated paper
  • Rollboard
  • Commercial paper
  • Specialty paper
  • Flooring felt

The biggest success in limiting the presence of asbestos in the U.S. was the banning of asbestos in new products that would not otherwise traditionally use the product, otherwise referred to as “new uses” of asbestos.

Under the Clean Air Act (CAA) there is also an active ban against asbestos uses in pipe insulation and spray-applied surfacing materials that historically contained asbestos.

Spray-on application of materials containing asbestos at levels more than 1% have been banned as well in an attempt to significantly reduce the overall use of asbestos in the U.S.

What’s Not Banned?

Though efforts have been made to ban certain uses of asbestos, there still remains a long list of products containing asbestos that are permitted in the U.S such as cement shingles, pipeline wrap, millboard, friction materials, vinyl floor tiles, clothing, roof coatings, drum brake linings, disc brake pads, and more. This, unfortunately, exposes our population to this dangerous substance frequently.

Are you or someone you know concerned about past exposure to asbestos?

It poses a serious health concern and should not be overlooked due to faulty laws. Contact our asbestos lawyers at Landry & Swarr with any questions or concerns about potential asbestos exposure or the development of mesothelioma due to said exposure. You are not alone!

We are educated on both the legal history of asbestos as well as the serious health risks you may face. Get in touch with our firm for more information and support.

By | 2016-12-09T14:02:09+00:00 November 30th, 2016|Asbestos|Comments Off on Is Asbestos Illegal? Not Exactly