Asbestos Is Nearly Completely Banned, Says EPA

Published on April 18, 2019

This article contains no “as best as” puns.

Asbestos is nearly a thing of the past with new regulations on importing and manufacturing, according to the Environmental Protections Agency. The EPA announced on Wednesday that new regulations passed in Washington DC take the United States one step closer to nearly eradicating the issue completely. Now, loop-holes are closing on regulations surrounding manufacturing and other products that would previously be at risk of containing the deadly chemical.

Reports from last summer circulating the news suggested that the EPA would be implementing regulations. These allegedly would loosen rules against asbestos manufacturing and importing. However, new laws put in place at the EPA’s headquarters in Washington DC actually aimed to strengthen the ban. A “Significant New Use Rule” (SNUR) put in place last summer attempted to close any loopholes that allowed for asbestos. This was a huge step forward for the EPA, which has struggled with regulations on the chemical in the past.

What Is Asbestos?

Most people have at least heard of asbestos at least once or twice in their lives. TV commercials have warned against exposure to the substance due to it’s ability to cause respiratory issues. However, few people seem to understand what asbestos really is. The dictionary defines it as”a heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics, and is used in fire-resistant and insulating materials such as brake linings.”

Older homes pose a higher risk of containing asbestos, and home owners should learn about the warning signs of recognizing the substance around their home in order to get rid of it right away. Things like textured paints in homes built prior to 1977 are likely to contain the substance, for example. Luckily, the SNUR rule put in place by the EPA this week aims to get rid of the substance altogether. All that’s left is to get rid of its presence in older products and homes.

The health risks behind asbestos exposure are the reason the substance is close to being banned. According to the EPA’s website, exposure to asbestos can get into your lungs and cause huge issues. Asbestosis is a medical condition caused from exposure to the substance, but it can also cause issues like mesothelioma and lung cancers. The EPA has an in-depth guide on how to protect yourself and your family against exposure to asbestos.

New Regulation

The new regulations on asbestos are already in effect. And give the EPA an unprecedented control over who is able to manufacture with the substance. Asbestos is something that occurs naturally. Mining and manufacturing with the product is becoming increasingly regulated around the world. Some companies will still be producing products with the substance. However, they’ll have to undergo in-depth review by the EPA in order to sell or manufacture those products within the U.S.

The EPA may put in further restrictions in the future. But for now consumers can relax knowing that the likelihood of their home containing the substance is as low as ever.

 

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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