That asbestos poses a significant danger to public health is irrefutable. Advocacy groups have been trying for decades to get federal government to ban its use and consumption completely. It was not until 2002 that the last mine in America, King City Asbestos Corporation in California, finally closed. Scientists and medical experts assert time and time again that no amount of asbestos is safe in the human body, which would lead the public to believe that asbestos has been outlawed completely. In reality, the EPA banned the use of asbestos only in new construction and renovation and only in certain facets of construction. Today, over 3,000 known products may contain asbestos in stores throughout the country.
Lung cancer attorneys urge those performing home or auto repair, electrician work, fire-proofing, heating and cooling repair, and flooring and roofing activities to always check the product label before using it. We have a growing concern about asbestos in consumer products. Exposure to this mineral, whether through inhalation or ingestion, results in devastating illnesses and numerous cancers have been causally linked to asbestos exposure. Products that contain asbestos, even in small amounts, become dangerous if damaged in any way. To read about potential asbestos contamination in gardening products, follow this link.
In recent years, most industrial applications involve asbestos fibers bonded within an organic or inorganic matrix. Asbestos-cement products account for the bulk of the world’s asbestos usage. In the United States, the major use is in roofing compounds (62%), followed by gaskets (22%), and friction products (11%). Small amounts of asbestos also are used to manufacture some insulation products and woven and plastic products (9%). Each type or group of products usually requires a selected asbestos fiber grade (or range of grades). By 2003, coatings and compounds accounted for 25% of consumption.
EPA Region 10 in Seattle conducted limited testing on Zonolite chemical packaging material. This limited testing by Region 10 found asbestos in this specific product and found that asbestos fibers were released during a testing scenario which was designed to simulate actual use of the product. Due to this initial testing, Region 10 recommended that consumers avoid use of the specific Zonolite chemical packaging material. EPA is currently evaluating a number of vermiculite products for asbestos content, potential asbestos fiber release during product use, and level of risk.
Other commercially available products that may contain asbestos include: adhesives, appliance components, automotive products, ceiling products, cement-asbestos board, chalkboards, electrical products, fire-protection products, elevator equipment, heating and cooling system parts, flooring products, friction materials, laboratory products, paints and coatings, table pads, wall products, window glazing, and vermiculite.
You can tell if a product contains asbestos by either reading the label
or by contacting the manufacturer. With the advent of trade agreements,
products from outside the United States that contain asbestos are now
being introduced into the American consumer marketplace. Another alternative
is to have a certified asbestos inspector sample the material and have
The only products banned by the EPA are the following:
- Spray-applied surfacing asbestos-containing material.
- Sprayed-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.
- Wet-applied and pre-formed asbestos pipe insulation and pre-formed asbestos block insulation on boilers and hot water tanks.
- Corrugated paper, rollboard, commercial paper, specialty paper, flooring felt, and new uses of asbestos.
This information may be surprising considering that asbestos is a known human carcinogen. If you suspect exposure to asbestos or development of a related illness, contact a skilled asbestos exposure attorney today for a free legal consultation. For a list of examples of asbestos-containing products not banned, follow this link.