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When it comes to asbestos, are new regulations adequate?

Since 2002, there has been no production of asbestos allowed in the United States. However, certain manufacturers still import the mineral to produce items which include electrical insulation, bulletproof vests and bleach.

Government agencies understand the dangers asbestos presents to Americans. But did you know the use of asbestos is still allowed in certain circumstances?

Under certain circumstances, new regulations may allow the use of asbestos

Whether you want to import or manufacture specific products using asbestos, you must first seek approval. Asbestos is linked to the loss of roughly 40,000 lives per year in the U.S. alone. Yet new regulations provide certain allowances for the use of asbestos, upon approval from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Some public health advocates oppose the new regulations due to the common knowledge of asbestos’ deadly effects. However, the EPA’s requirement of seeking federal approval for a company’s use of asbestos may be intended to bridge the gap between affordable, quality construction materials and protecting the public.

Types of asbestos products for which you may seek approval for use

The asbestos restrictions might not fulfill all demands of public health opponents. But they could be a first step toward tightening regulations. Opponents may agree that the inclusion of a “catchall” category for non-identified uses of asbestos could put nearly every use of asbestos under review.

Previously-banned items remain as such, but the EPA may review and approve of 15 different ways to use asbestos. The materials which are subject to the significant new use rule include:

  • Sealants
  • Roofing felt
  • Cement products
  • Adhesives
  • Reinforced plastics
  • Friction materials
  • Millboard

The new rule takes effect June 24, 2019.

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