Asbestos Banned in the U.S.?

Author: Pacific Northwest Inspections Group, LLC   Date: 18-Nov-2013.   Category: Asbestos   Add to Favorites 

Is Asbestos Banned in the US?

Is Asbestos being sold at local hardware stores?

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos FactsAsbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that has been a popular building material since the 1950s. It is used as an insulator (to keep in heat and keep out cold), has good fire protection properties and protects against corrosion. Because asbestos is often mixed with another material, it's hard to know if you're working with it or not. But, if you work in any building, it's likely that some parts of the building will contain asbestos. Asbestos is found in many products used in buildings, including ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, boilers and sprayed coatings.


A surprising fact for many Americans is that unlike other nations around the world, the United States has not yet banned asbestos. Asbestos is still being used today and looks to still have a strong future. Old mines are now up and running producings tons of Asbestos materials today. The EPA made know that Asbestos is a hazardous material in 1971.

So what products are banned from containing Asbestos?

Because of the health hazards of asbestos fibers, its use in insulation and paint was banned in the 1970’s. Some of the products that remain banned after this overruling are flooring felt, rollboard, and corrugated commercial, or specialty paper, as well as all “new uses” of asbestos. "New use" refers to products that were not historically manufactured with this mineral.

Consumer patching compounds containing asbestos and artificial fireplace ash containing asbestos was banned in 1977.

Asbestos was banned in ceiling treatments by the Clean Air Act of 1978 in the United States,popcorn ceilings fell out of favor in much of the country. However, in order to minimize economic hardship to suppliers and installers, existing inventories of asbestos-bearing texturing materials were exempt from the ban, so it is possible to find asbestos in popcorn ceilings that were applied through the 1980s.

The following are some of the products which remain legal to use today, despite their asbestos content:

  • Asbestos clothing
  • Pipeline wrap
  • Roofing felt
  • Vinyl-asbestos floor tile
  • Asbestos-cement shingle
  • Millboard
  • Asbestos-cement pipe
  • Automatic transmission components
  • Clutch facings
  • Friction materials
  • Disc brake pads Drum brake linings
  • Brake blocks
  • Gaskets
  • Non-roofing coatings
  • Roof coatings


Canada plans Ban in 2018

Sure would make regulation easier and why not ban Asbestos in the US also, it will save lives. While Canada no longer exports asbestos, it continues to import asbestos-containing products.

According to CLC, Canadian imports of asbestos grew from $4.7 million in 2011 to $8.2 million in 2015. More than $6 million of the 2015 imports came from friction materials such as brake pads and brake linings.

The toxic mineral is banned in 56 other countries, including many of Canada’s major trade partners such the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.

“The top five countries that Canada currently imports asbestos friction materials from are the U.S., South Korea, China, Chile and Peru,”


Limited exemptions

The regulations contain an exemption for the use of some asbestos-containing mining residues, to allow for the redevelopment and rehabilitation of former mine sites.

They also exempt until 2025 the use of asbestos in the chlor-alkali industry, where it is used in the manufacturing of chlorine and caustic soda. The time-limited exception will allow industry time to adopt alternatives and "Canada to position itself as a global partner in phasing out trade of asbestos", the regulations say.

The only other exemptions apply to items intended for museum display or for some kinds of scientific research.



Canada will accept comments on the proposed regulations until 22 March, and expects to publish final regulations in the autumn of 2018.


Brazil Ban Hurts US Imports

The U.S. chlor-alkali industry is feeling the hit from a Nov. 29 ruling of the Brazil Supreme Federal Court that bans the mining, use, and commercialization of asbestos in Brazil. About 95% of the asbestos used in the U.S. in 2016 was imported from Brazil, with the rest coming from Russia. The chlor-alkali industry used nearly all of the material, or about 340 metric tons, according to estimates by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Much of the U.S. chlor-alkali industry still uses asbestos diaphragms to produce chlorine. The industry is phasing out such diaphragms and replacing them with more expensive ion-exchange membranes as has been done in Europe to replace mercury cells

So whats in store for US Asbestos 2018 ?  more to come.....