Is asbestos still used today?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | asbestos

Asbestos is known for its resistance to heat and corrosion. Accordingly, it has been used for decades in insulation and fireproofing materials, among other products. With that said, both people’s view of this mineral – and regulators’ approach to it – changed dramatically in the 1970s when a study linked it to lung cancer and mesothelioma.

This shift resulted in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banning its use in different fields. For example, in 1973, EPA banned spray-applied surfacing asbestos-containing material for fireproofing/insulating purposes. In 1975, the department banned the installation of asbestos pipe insulation and asbestos block insulation on facility components. EPA has proposed and implemented several laws over the years. Nonetheless, asbestos is still in use.

Most uses of asbestos are not banned

The EPA is doing its best to protect the public from asbestos exposure, but most uses of asbestos are not banned. If you look at the EPA’s regulatory history, you will notice that the regulations are specific to a field, product or use. Expanding on the 1975 ban example, the department banned asbestos pipe and block insulation on “facility components,” such as hot water tanks and broilers. This means asbestos-containing auto parts, such as brake linings, clutches and gaskets, remained legal at that time.

Further, in 1989, EPA attempted to ban most of the asbestos-containing products. However, in 1991, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a significant percentage of products originally covered in the 1989 final rule. Consequently, this regulation was only allowed to ban new uses of asbestos on products that would be manufactured, imported, processed or distributed for the first time after 1989. That’s why only a few uses of asbestos are banned in the current regulations. However, the EPA continues to propose bans on ongoing uses of asbestos.

If you contract an illness due to asbestos exposure, get more information about the circumstances surrounding your case to better protect your rights. You may be owed compensation by one or more parties, depending on the circumstances related to your exposure.