A ruling regarding the use of asbestos in building materials may be officially announced in November or December by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Although never really outright banned, the use of asbestos, which has been linked to cancer and mesothelioma, among other diseases, has been in general decline in the U.S. since the 1970s.
The silicate material has traditionally been used in pipe insulation, roofing felt, sealant tape, vinyl floor tile, and millboard, among other products.
According to unnamed officials at the EPA, a new ruling on asbestos would require that any manufacturer in the U.S. must first notify the agency 90 days in advance before using the product.
Even so, the fact that asbestos as a component is being re-explored for use by the EPA has prompted several organizations to come out against any policy change short of an outright ban.
In a statement, Carl Elefante, the president of the American Institute of Architects, said, “The EPA has offered no compelling reason for considering new products using asbestos, especially when the consequences are well known and have tragically affected the lives of so many people.”
Elefante adds: “The EPA should be doing everything possible to curtail asbestos in the United States and beyond—not providing new pathways that expose the public to its dangers.”
By Garry Boulard