Asbestos Usage in the United States

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Although asbestos use was banned in the United States in 1989, it was overturned in 1991, reinstating uses established before 1989, although the ban on new uses remained in force. That wasn’t much of a change. For the most part, companies that reduced or eliminated asbestos from their products have done so voluntarily. Toys, for instance is one area where manufacturers have voluntarily reduced their use. Crayons, for example, once used varying amounts of asbestos for each color.

Most European countries and Australia have completely banned all uses of asbestos. The U.S. lags behind in protecting its citizens from the dangers of asbestos.

Asbestos can still be used in manufacturing many products in common use and is most often found in products used in the construction industry. This means, of course, that anytime you’re inside any building you could be exposed, depending upon the condition of the building.

Construction Industry

Asbestos insulation was used in houses built between 1930-1950. Any insulation that was produced in Libby, Montana and any using vermiculite ore may contain asbestos fibers. Between 1923-1990 the vermiculite produced in Libby, and a natural deposit of asbestos in the Libby mine contaminated which was shipped around the world. According to the US EPA Asbestos Materials Ban: Clarification of May 18, 1999 the following products are no longer subject to the 1989 TSCA ban:

• Asbestos cement flat sheet.
• Asbestos cement corrugated sheet.
• Asbestos cement shingles.
• Asbestos cement pipe.
• Asbestos clothing.
• Asbestos pipeline wrap.
• Vinyl-asbestos floor tile.
• Millboard.
• Roof coatings.
• Roofing felt.
• Non-roofing coatings.

Household and Commercial Uses

Asbestos is still used in vehicle braking systems, compromising the many repairmen who work on our cars, especially transmissions and brakes. Fireproof household items, especially older ones may still be found in many homes. This list includes:

• Automatic transmission components.
• Clutch facings.
• Friction materials.
• Disc brake pads
• Drum brake linings.
• Brake blocks.
• Gaskets.
• Ashes and embers used in gas fireplaces.
• Vermiculite for garden use.

In addition to these uses, older buildings such as offices, schools, libraries, or courthouses may also contain asbestos in insulation, roofing, flooring, paint, ceilings, and soundproofing. The EPA’s ban clarification includes this statement:

“EPA has no existing bans on most other asbestos-containing products or uses.
EPA does NOT track the manufacture, processing, or distribution in commerce of
asbestos-containing products. It would be prudent for a consumer or other buyer to inquire as to the presence of asbestos in particular products.”

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with asbestos caused lung cancer, asbestosis or mesothelioma? If so, please visit the website of Parker, Dumler & Kiely, LLP, the experienced mesothelioma lawyers in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. for more information. You may be entitled to a damage award.



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