Against popular belief, asbestos use has not been fully banned in the United States.
Though many believe asbestos is no longer in use, the reality is that “the use of asbestos-containing products has never been completely banned in the United States” (CDPHE). According to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, “products manufactured in other countries that have not banned the use of asbestos are still available for purchase in the United States” (CDPHE). The only way to be certain the material is not asbestos containing is to test it.
An overview of asbestos-containing material bans by the EPA is listed below (as listed on CDPHE ASB BANS):
1973 – Spray-applied surfacing ACM for fireproofing/insulating purposes.
1975 – Installation of wet-applied and pre-formed (molded) asbestos pipe insulation, and installation of pre-formed (molded) asbestos block insulation on boilers and hot water tanks (thermal system insulation).
1978 – Spray-applied surfacing ACM for “decorative” purposes.
1989 (reconfirmed in 1993) – Asbestos-containing product use categories:
- Corrugated paper
- Commercial paper
- Specialty paper
- Flooring felt
- New uses of asbestos
1990 – Prohibited the spray-on application of materials containing more than 1% asbestos to buildings, structures, pipes, and conduits unless the material is encapsulated with a bituminous or resinous binder during spraying and the materials are not friable after drying.
Bans on the use of certain asbestos-containing materials (ACM)*:
* Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
1977 – Products such as spackling compounds, tape joint compounds, and other mixtures that consumers use to patch or seal cracks, holes, or other imperfections in drywall and other surfaces. These products may be in dry form ready to be mixed with water or may be an already-mixed paste.
1977 – Decorative simulated ashes or embers that are placed under artificial logs in gas-burning fireplaces and that, when heated, glow like real burning embers. The ban includes material containing asbestos that is glued to artificial logs either at the factory or by consumers using an “emberizing” kit, and also covers artificial embers and ashes used in artificial fireplaces for decorative purposes.
The following uses of asbestos-containing material have not been banned:
- Troweled-on surfacing asbestos-containing material.
- Asbestos-cement corrugated sheet, asbestos-cement flat sheet, asbestos clothing, pipeline wrap, roofing felt, vinyl-asbestos floor tile, asbestos-cement shingle, millboard, asbestos-cement pipe, automatic transmission components, clutch facings, friction materials, disc brake pads, drum brake linings, brake blocks, gaskets, non-roofing coatings, and roof coatings.
- The EPA still allows, on equipment and machinery, spray-on application of materials that contain more than 1% asbestos where the asbestos fibers in the materials are encapsulated with a bituminous or resinous binder during spraying and the materials are not friable after drying; or for friable materials, where either no visible emissions are discharged to the outside air from spray-on application, or specified methods are used to clean emissions containing particulate asbestos material before they escape to, or are vented to, the outside air.
If you would like to know more about asbestos and asbestos testing, please call our office and one of our Colorado-certified Asbestos Inspectors can answer your questions 303.444.5253.