What is Asbestos and when was it banned?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring long thin fibrous mineral previously used for creating fireproof
or incombustible items. Around 1880, one of the first patents for asbestos was initiated in the
United States as an insulation material during the industrial revolution. As time went on the
substance proved to be extremely dangerous and was eventually discontinued. When was asbestos banned? Although the significant
dangers were recognized as far back as sixty years prior to the ban, it has only been since 1978
that the U.S. stopped asbestos production. However, the remaining stock was permitted to be
depleted. Therefore, homes and buildings built as late as 1986 may contain asbestos within their
In the late 19th century, builders and contractors regarded asbestos as
the preeminent material for developing resilient, sound proof and fire resistant materials used for building and
electrical insulation, plaster, thermal pipe insulation, hotplate wiring and several other purposes as well.
Several buildings contain flame retardant asbestos. Since firefighters have trouble accessing specific areas, it
was used in hard to reach places and frequently flocked above false ceilings. In addition, it was a component used
in cottage cheese or popcorn style ceilings.
Typically, asbestos does not present any danger to the majority of people frequenting a building where it is
present, subject to where and how it was utilized. The asbestos fibers do not propose a hazard if they cannot be
dislocated from their original space and be inhaled.
Asbestos may cause a risk to maintenance workers who drill holes in walls for the purpose of installing wires or
pipes. This is particularly true in a case where flocking has occurred since the asbestos fibers tend to slowly
flake into the air. Even though the workers may be well protected, the process may loosen the fibers enough to
cause harm to other people in the area if they breathe the hazardous material. A strict course of action is
necessary to follow to safely perform repairs or upkeep wherever asbestos exists.
Asbestos fibers can easily turn into floating dust; this is referred to as being friable, or light and sandy. A
popcorn style ceiling is particularly friable. In contrast, an asbestos tiled floor is regarded as non-friable
since it does not flake off gritty or grainy material.
When was asbestos banned by the EPA? In 1989, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a final rule that
banned almost all products that contained asbestos. A Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned this
regulation. Consequently, the Court decided that certain asbestos-containing products remain banned such as
corrugated, commercial or specialty paper, rollboard and flooring felt. Furthermore, the regulation maintains
the ban on any new uses of asbestos.