Asbestos Legislation

On a national basis, the laws restricting asbestos use in the U.S. are complex and controlled by several different federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Despite a national outcry for a sweeping nationwide ban on asbestos, no such asbestos legislation has come to pass. Rather, different agencies have banned certain products and certain applications of asbestos while allowing others to continue being manufactured, imported, processed, and distributed commercially. Navigating the complex web of laws and regulations related to asbestos implemented by the EPA and certain other federal agencies is best done with the help of an experienced mesothelioma lawyer.

Below is a high level overview giving some examples of products and uses banned by asbestos legislation and others that are not banned.

Banned asbestos products and uses

Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), there exists asbestos legislation that bans the manufacture, importation, processing, and distribution of some asbestos-containing products including:

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

This piece of asbestos legislation continues to ban “new uses” of asbestos, or products that have not historically contained asbestos but might in the future.

Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), certain uses of asbestos are prohibited, according to the EPA, including:

  • Asbestos pipe insulation and asbestos block insulation on facility components, such as boilers and hot water tanks, if the materials are either pre-formed (molded) and friable or wet-applied and friable after drying.
  • Spray-applied surfacing materials containing more than 1% asbestos cannot be used in buildings, structures, pipes, and conduits unless certain conditions are met, which are outlined in the legislation.

In addition, asbestos in artificial fireplace embers and wall patching compounds is prohibited under the Consumer Product Safety Act by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

Asbestos products still unrestricted

There are a number of asbestos products still used today for which there is no existing asbestos legislation to restrict their use. Examples of such products listed on the EPA’s web site include:

  • Cement corrugated sheet
  • Cement flat sheet
  • Clothing
  • Pipeline wrap
  • Roofing felt
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Cement shingle
  • Millboard
  • Cement pipe
  • Automatic transmission components
  • Clutch facings
  • Friction materials
  • Disk brake pads
  • Drum brake linings
  • Brake blocks
  • Gaskets
  • Non-roofing coatings
  • Roof coatings

Your legal rights

If you have an asbestos-related injury such as mesothelioma or asbestosis, you may deserve compensation from an asbestos company. But as you see from this brief introduction, the laws can be complex and difficult to understand.

Asbestos legislation and civil law exists to provide justice and compensation to victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. If you’re ready to speak to a legal professional about your potential mesothelioma claim, please complete our free case evaluation form today.

References:
  • http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/lawsregs.html
  • http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/federalbans.html