Asbestos has never been completely banned in the U.S. as it has been in other countries. Rather, a web of laws and regulations govern and restrict the uses and handling of asbestos. This second installment of a three-part blog series will explore asbestos-related regulation established through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA Asbestos Worker Protection Rule was created in 2000. It is enforceable through the authority of Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This regulation supplements the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) asbestos regulations by extending worker protection rules to state and local government employees involved in asbestos work.
Initially proposed in 1998 and amended through subsequent years was the Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools Rule. This regulation is enforceable under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) law and extended its definition of "local education agencies" to include public school districts, non-profit private schools, charter schools, and schools affiliated with religious institutions.
The Asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) was last amended in 1990. It set forth strict rules for any building demolitions and renovations except in residential buildings with fewer than four units. The regulation requires building owners to report potential asbestos hazards in any building to be torn down or renovated that would release visible dust into the surrounding air. It further requires those building owners to ensure proper asbestos abatement procedures are done by trained professionals prior to any work taking place.
On July 12, 1989, the EPA issued a regulation called the Asbestos Ban and Phaseout Rule that banned most asbestos-containing products. In 1991, however, it was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and today only a few asbestos-containing products are banned in the U.S.
In the next part of this three-part blog series, asbestos-related regulations established through other government agencies will be reviewed.
Reference: The United States Environmental Protection Agency