Five Products That You Might Not Know Still Contain Asbestos
If you think asbestos is banned in the U.S., think again. From 1973 to 1978, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did a good job of banning everything from asbestos pipe and asbestos block insulation to the use of asbestos in artificial fireplace embers and wall patching compounds. In 1989, the EPA even managed to issue a final rule under Section 6 of Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) banning most asbestos-containing products. Unfortunately, the ban didn’t last long.
Just a few years later, 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, and distribution in commerce for the majority of the asbestos-containing products originally covered in the 1989 final rule was overturned. Today, asbestos is still used in dozens of products, and the public might not be aware of just how close to home these products are.
Asbestos is the only cause of mesothelioma, so it is important to be aware of the products that still contain this deadly mineral.
Asbestos can still be found in automatic transmission components, brake blocks, clutch facings, disk brake pads, drum brake linings, friction materials, and gaskets.
Many homes built before 1980 already have asbestos in their flooring, insulation, plaster, and paint. Today, it is still legal to manufacture, import, process and distribute asbestos-containing construction materials such as cement corrugated sheet, flat sheet, pipe, and shingle, non-roof coatings, pipeline wrap, roof coatings, roofing felt, and vinyl tile floor.
Fertilizer and Potting Soil
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), vermiculite (which may contain a type of naturally occurring asbestos called tremolite-actinolite) has been used in some potting soil and fertilizer. The IDPH says the mineral is used in potting soil for plant growth, and it appears as bright gold or silver flakes.
Although talc isn’t made with asbestos today, Consumer Safety says, “in nature, talc deposits occur together with asbestos, and mined talc can easily become contaminated with asbestos.” Companies from Justice and Claire’s to Johnson & Johnson have been sued over talc products that have been found to contain asbestos.
If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Although asbestos fibers cannot be detected in chest X-rays, early signs of lung disease can. Lung function tests and high- resolution CAT scans can also detect changes in your lungs.
ConsumerSafety.org. ConsumerSafety.org, 11 Jan. 2018. Web. 21 May 2018.
"Environmental Health Fact Sheet: Asbestos in Vermiculite." Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), n.d. Web. 21 May 2018.
"Talcum Powder and Cancer." American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, Inc., 13 Nov. 2017. Web. 21 May 2018.
"U.S. Federal Bans on Asbestos." United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 19 Dec. 2016. Web. 21 May 2018.