After Years of Ads, Asbestos Finally Under a Comprehensive Ban in the US

HikoPhotography /
HikoPhotography /

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally announced a full and comprehensive ban on the use of asbestos in the US. Extensively used in chlorine bleach, brake pads, and other things for years, the carcinogen has been killing tens of thousands of Americans for decades. A major expansion of the 2016 law overseeing the ingredients on everyday products throughout the home and garage.

Previously chrysotile asbestos had been exempted from that ban and found itself being used in a variety of products, even water purification. For EPA Administrator Michael Regan, this is a major step in protecting public health.

“With today’s ban, EPA is finally slamming the door on a chemical so dangerous that it has been banned in over 50 countries. This historic ban is more than 30 years in the making, and it’s thanks to amendments that Congress made in 2016 to fix the Toxic Substances Control Act. The science is clear: Asbestos is a known carcinogen that has severe impacts on public health. This action is just the beginning as we work to protect all American families, workers, and communities from toxic chemicals.”

As Americans realized just how dangerous asbestos is started phasing it out from our everyday lives. While the Environment Protection Agency banned it in 1989, a 1991 Court of Appeals decision largely overturned it. Frequently used in insulation, at ship yards, and mixed in for sound dampening of large buildings, it was everywhere and caused a tremendous surge in cancer cases in the 1980s and 1990s.