The EPA and Asbestos

Created in 1970 by President Nixon as a response to the nation’s growing concern over environmental pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency explains it consolidated “a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection.” For 40 years, the EPA has dedicated itself to the protection of human health and the natural environment, which includes the nation’s air, water and land.

The end of World War II saw the introduction of throw-away packaging and new synthetic organic chemicals that contributed to the increasing concern over the nation’s land. In addition, the raw sewage and industrial wastes that had been pouring into the lakes and rivers, combined with air-polluting smokestack and auto emissions, left Americans awakened to the seriousness of this nation-wide deterioration.

This awareness of accelerating deterioration also helped Americans recognize the threat of existing materials and those material’s impact on both the health of humans and the environment. One such material was asbestos, which saw heavy use in the first 70 years of the century as a form of insulation. The delayed impact of exposure to this material became increasingly obvious, especially after its heavy military usage during twentieth century conflicts. As a reaction, regulation of the substance was enacted to ensure American safety from this dangerous toxin. Listed below are EPA legislative measures intended to curtail the impact of this dangerous mineral.


  • Wisman, Phil. (November 1985) “EPA History (1970-1985).” Retrieved on March 22, 2011 from the EPA.