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Understanding Which Asbestos-Containing Products the Federal Government has Banned

Clark Seif Clark offers testing and consulting services to identify asbestos-containing materials and potential exposure risks for workers and the public.

Chatsworth, CA – WEBWIRE

Every asbestos presentation I’ve given for the past 25 years has me worried someone in the audience will say ‘Enough. We know. Asbestos was not banned for use in the U.S.’

There have been thousands of consumer products and building materials produced over the years that contained asbestos. Asbestos offers many unique qualities that made it universally used, including its low cost, sound absorption characteristics and tensile strength, as well resistance to heat, fire, chemical corrosion and electricity. Unfortunately, it has also been known for some time that exposure to asbestos fibers could result in mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer.
Considering all that is known about inhalation exposure hazards to asbestos fibers, a large percentage of Americans are under the assumption the use of asbestos has been banned, but this is not completely the case. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains, “On July 12, 1989, the EPA issued a final rule under Section 6 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning most asbestos-containing products in the United States. In 1991, the rule was vacated and remanded by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result, most of the original ban on the manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce for most of the asbestos-containing product categories originally covered in the 1989 final rule was overturned. Only the bans on corrugated paper, rollboard, commercial paper, specialty paper, and flooring felt and any new uses of asbestos remained banned under the 1989 rule. Although most asbestos containing products can still legally be manufactured, imported, processed and distributed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the production and use of asbestos has declined significantly.”
To help protect workers, the public, and keep companies and institutions in regulatory compliance with asbestos regulations, there are companies that specialize in identifying and mitigating exposure risks. One of the leading providers of this service is Clark Seif Clark (CSC). Their industrial hygiene and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) professionals provide asbestos sampling and consulting services to identify and mitigate exposure risks.
“Every asbestos presentation I’ve given for the past 25 years has me worried someone in the audience will say ‘Enough. We know. Asbestos was not banned for use in the U.S.’,” said Derrick A. Denis, Vice President of Indoor Environmental Quality of Clark Seif Clark. “But, every class I start the asbestos module with the same question… What year was asbestos banned for use in the United States? Without exception, the students (building owners, property managers, Realtors, facilities professionals, architects, etc.) shout out with confidence various dates between 1975 and 1985. All are incorrect. The answer is never. Of course that is a ‘Never’ with a few caveats that can be found on the EPA website. But, essentially…NEVER. And, that is why the EPA requires asbestos testing or asbestos presumption of building materials regardless of the age of the structure. That is why OSHA says don’t expose workers to airborne asbestos fibers above the permissible exposure limit (PEL) without a date qualifier.”
To help explain which asbestos-containing products are banned and not banned in the United States, CSC has sponsored an educational video that can be seen at:
To learn more about asbestos or other environmental, health, occupational, indoor air quality, and safety testing and consulting issues, please visit, email or call (800) 807-1118. 
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address IAQ, environmental, health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.

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