3 Types of Products Made in the U.S. that Still Contain Asbestos
Today, most people know about the dangers of asbestos exposure. A naturally occurring bundle of minerals known for its heat-resistant properties, asbestos has been linked to several types of life-threatening diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.1
When asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they can gradually injure the cells of the lungs or stomach and “eventually cause mesothelioma.”4 This process happens over decades, as the “time between first exposure to asbestos and diagnosis of mesothelioma is usually between 20 and 50 years.”4
After these correlations were discovered, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented several bans on asbestos use in manufacturing from 1973 to 1978.2 Some banned products include corrugated paper, rollboard, commercial paper, specialty paper, and flooring felt.2
In 1989, the EPA technically banned most asbestos-containing products in “a final rule under Section 6 of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).”2 However, in 1991, “this rule was vacated and remanded by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.”2 As a result, most of the asbestos regulations and bans in commerce originally in the 1989 final rule were overturned.2
One regulation survived the 1991 ruling, which “continues to ban the use of asbestos in products that have not historically contained asbestos, otherwise referred to as ‘new uses’ of asbestos.”2 However, any “old uses” of asbestos are legal while manufacturing the products listed in this article.
Despite knowing its harmful side effects, asbestos is still used in some U.S. industries. We have created this article to help you identify which products are made with asbestos today. Keep in mind that under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standards, these products can only contain less than 1% asbestos.3
Here is a list of 3 types of products made in the U.S. that still contain asbestos:
1. Several construction materials
Currently, asbestos is used in a lot of construction materials, including cement and floor tile. Asbestos is made of six fibrous materials, which create a strong foundation for these products.1
Workers can be exposed to asbestos fibers while making or handling these products, increasing their risk of developing mesothelioma.
According to EPA, the following asbestos-containing construction materials are still manufactured in the U.S.:
- Cement corrugated sheet
- Cement flat sheet
- Pipeline wrap
- Roofing Felt
- Vinyl floor tile
- Cement shingle
- Cement pipe
- Friction materials
- Non-roofing coatings
- Roof coatings2
2. Some automotive parts
Some automotive parts contain asbestos for its heat-resistant properties. The EPA lists the following auto parts that are still manufactured with asbestos:
- Automatic transmission components
- Clutch facings
- Fiction materials
- Disk brake pads
- Drum brake linings
- Brake blocks
3. Heat-resistant clothing
Heat-resistant clothing is made for certain professions, such as firefighting. In the U.S., these clothes can be made with asbestos fibers to decrease their ability to catch fire. However, if these clothes do burn, asbestos fibers woven into the material can become airborne.
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