Corrugated cement asbestos roofingQuick Guide Asbestos Building Material Regulations, Bans, Rules & Laws
urrent & historic asbestos regulations & laws

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

Asbestos Bans, Rules, Regulations Guide: this article describes current asbestos exposure & handling regulations and lists the history of asbestos law and regulations for most countries.

We include a list of countries where asbestos containing materials or products (ACM) are banned in various forms. We provide a summary of OSHA regulations for asbestos containing building materials, including assumed asbestos containing building materials (roofing, flooring, insulation, drywall, etc), suspected asbestos containing materials, and assumed asbestos containing materials.

We address the handling of asbestos containing building materials, including the permissible exposure limits for asbestos particles or fibers in buildings (Asbestos PELs), ACM (asbestos containing materials), PACM (presumed asbestos containing materials), SACM (suspect asbestos containing materials), and ACRM (asbestos containing roofing materials).

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Asbestos Containing Materials: Regulations, Bans, Exposure Limits

Asbestos containing acoustic ceiling tilesArticle Contents

Photo above left: presumed-asbestos-containing material (PACM) acoustic ceiling tiles found above a suspended ceiling.

History & Dates of Asbestos Containing Material Bans & Regulations & Related Occupational Safety Regulatory History

  • 1877 Massachusetts passed the nation’s first safety and health legislation, requiring the guarding of belts, shafts, and gears, protection on elevators, and adequate fire exits in factories. [56]

  • 1903, the U.S. Bureau of Labor began publishing detailed studies of occupational fatalities and illnesses in the dusty trades [56]

  • 1907: first testimony of illness or death due to asbestos exposure [27] , though there had been studies of asbestos-related illness before 1900 [28]

  • 1913 U.S. Department of Labor established [56]
  • 1927-1944: asbestos health hazards & fatalities reported in the U.S. The U.S. government began regulating asbestos exposure in 1926.
  • 1934 U.S. Bureau of Labor Standards created [56]
  • 1953: National Gypsum recommends acoustic plaster mixers wear respirators
  • 1967: U.S. Gypsum ceiling tiles, reported produced using ingredients that included asbestos from 1967-1976[29]
  • 1970: The Celotex Corporation of America introduced an isocyanurate foam ceiling tile [11] (not an asbestos-containing product). Asbestos widely used as fireproofing in roofs, floors, ceilings.[28] In the U.S.
    OSHA began functioning in the U.S. at the very end this year (29 December) but did not issue asbestos regulations until 1971.[54][55]
  • 1971 OSHA issued emergency regulations for asbestos exposure. Quoting OSHA: OSHA first regulated asbestos on 1971 when, under authority of section 6(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, it adopted the existing Federal standard for asbestos under the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act. [54][55]
    The Occupational Safety & Health Act was passed into law;
    NIOSH founded
  • 1972 OSHA issued a permanent asbestos exposure standard. Quoting OSHA: OSHA conducted rulemaking and issued a permanent standard under section 6(b) of the OSH Act, which regulated occupational exposure to asbestos. The standard defined asbestos as chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite [29 CFR 1910.93a (later renumbered as Section 1910.1001); 37 FR 11318, June 7, 1972].
    Note: Because the 1972 standard did not distinguish between asbestiform and non-asbestiform ATA, OSHA began to inspect employers whose employees were exposed to either mineralogic variety. [55]
  • 1975 OSHA proposed to reduce the PEL and otherwise revise and tighten the asbestos standard to protect employees against carcinogenic effects of asbestos (40 FR 47652, October 9, 1975). [55]
  • 1976: E.U. ban on marketing & use of chrysotile asbestos [26]
  • 1981-1991: New Zealand banned the import of raw amphibole (blue & brown) asbestos in 1984. Great Britain banned blue & brown asbestos materials in 1985. In 1989 : US EPA issued its "Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule", later overturned in court in 1991, thus continuing to permit asbestos in many products. Australia introduced a ban on all ACM in 1991 (in-stock materials continued to be sold) [28]
  • 1983 OSHA issued an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) for asbestos, lowering the permissible exposure limit from 2 fibers per cubic centimeter (2 f/cc) to 0.5 f/cc (48 FR 51086, November 4, 1983). [55]
  • 1986 OSHA granted a temporary stay insofar as the standards applied to non-asbestiform tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite (51 FR 37002).
  • 1990 OSHA Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to remove non-asbestiform tremolite, anthophyllite and actinolite from the scope of the revised standards for Asbestos. OSHA also presented and requested comment on various alternatives for regulating non-asbestiform ATA. The Administration Stay was extended to May 30, 1992
  • 1992 Expiration of the 1986 temporary OSHA stay was on 30 Msy 1992. Pursuant to the stay and its extension, the standard, covering tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite were to remain in effect as they had applied to minerals under the previous standard. The 1972 standard was republished as 29 CFR 1910.1101 (1987).
  • 1999: ASBESTOS MATERIAL REGULATIONS Update US EPA 1999. This document makes clear that EPA has no existing bans on asbestos-containing products other than items listed in this document: ACM ceiling tiles were not banned. Note: however because of public resistance to purchase or use of ACM products, many manufacturers discontinued of asbestos in various products, particularly after 1976. Check the individual product MSDS for confirmation of its content. - Ed. In this year Great Britain banned the sale or re-use of white asbestos. [26]
  • 2002-2011: New Zealand banned white chrisotile asbestos. In 2003 E.U. directive 2003/18/EC banned all use of asbestos. Turkey banned all asbestos in 2011. [26] Also see EPA Asbestos Materials Bans: Clarification 2003 update

Australian, New Zealand, & Japan Regulation of Asbestos Containing Products

According to the Government of South Australia SafeWork SA,

  • The use of all types of asbestos in the amphibole group was banned in the mid 1980s.
  • Chrysotile asbestos was banned on 31 December 2003

According to Australian contractor Bill Bradley, referring to Fibro asbestos-cement roofing, "Only cement sheet products made before 1987 contain the deadly stuff.  In NSW, for example, the use of it was discontinued in cement sheets by 1982, in corrugated sheets by 1984 and in all other products by 1986. Products containing it have been totally banned in Australia since 2004."

In Japan asbestos production peaked in 1974 but did not significantly drop before 1990. - citation needed beyond Wikipedia

New Zealand banned the import of amphibole asbestos in 1984, and banned chrysotile asbestos in 2002

Complete List of Countries that Ban or Regulate the Use or Production of Asbestos

List of Countries Banning All Asbestos Use & Production as of 2005

  • Chile
  • Cyprus
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand - banned the import of amphibole asbestos in 1984, and banned chrysotile asbestos in 2002.
  • Norway
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden

List of Countries Banning Asbestos Use but Permitting Small Production or Trade in ACM

  • Argentina
  • Australia - We read other reports that Australia did not ban asbestos completely until 2004 - citation needed.(See Wittenoom, Australia: mine source for crocidolite asbestos ("blue asbestos") from 1917 to 1966. )
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Coratia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Japan - production did not significantly drop before 1990. - citation needed beyond Wikipedia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Slovakia
  • South Africa - a major source of asbestos production
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands, The
  • United Kingdom, the U.K.
  • Uruguay

List of Countries that Ratified the 1986 ILO 162 Rules on Asbestos Safety in the Workplace

  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia
  • Brazil
  • Cameroon
  • Canada - a major source of asbestos production
  • Chile
  • Columbia
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Ecuador
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Guatemala
  • Herzegovina
  • Japan
  • Macedonia
  • Montenegro
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • Switzerland
  • Uganda
  • Uruguay
  • Zimbabwe

Definition of & Handling Rules for Suspect Asbestos Containing Materials (SACM) & Presumed Asbestos Containing Materials (PACM)

The term suspect ACM or SACM (Suspected Asbestos Containing Material) does not appear in either of the OSHA standards. The term, however, has long been used by the asbestos industry to refer to any building material that is suspected of being asbestos-containing (based on appearance, usage, age of building, etc.), but has not been proven conclusively to be ACM (asbestos containing material) (based on sampling and analysis, documentation, building records, etc).

For OSHA’s purposes, suspect material would include any material (including TSI, surfacing, and flooring) that a building owner suspects of containing asbestos and is found in a building constructed after 1980, or any material (excepting TSI, surfacing, and flooring) found in a building constructed prior to 1981.

Other typical suspect building materials would include ceiling tiles, asbestos-cement products (Transite®), and joint compound. The exercise of due diligence (as noted in the OSHA asbestos standards) requires that, where a building owner knows or should have known that materials other than PACM (presumed asbestos containing material) are asbestos-containing, these materials must be treated as ACM until proven otherwise.

This makes sense especially for building products for which a non-asbestos-containing-form was not ever produced, or was not produced during certain years. It is on this basis that we assert that it is possible to identify some asbestos-containing materials with confidence, even before any asbestos lab tests.

For examples of PACM (presumed asbestos containing materials), see:



A building constructed prior to 1981, therefore, could contain both PACM and suspect ACM. Newer buildings (constructed after 1980) would contain only suspect ACM.

Asbestos regulations for Ontario are published under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and are in Ontario Regulation 278/05 and provide a clearly-written and comprehensive guide to cleaning up and disposing of asbestos containing materials in or on buildings.

What is the Permissible Exposure Limit (PELs) for Asbestos in or at Buildings?

Photograph of asbestos pipe insulation in poor conditionBeginning in 1986 OSHA set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 0.2 fibers per cubic centimeter (f/cc) of air over an 8-hour time-weighted average exposure period. OSHA also set an action level of 0.1 f/cc of asbestos for an 8-hour TWA average, and (the highest permitted short term asbestos fiber exposure) 1.0 f/cc "excursion limit" for a 30-minute time period.

Thanks to reader Thomas Sukeforth for pointing out a 1994 summary of changes made to the OSHA Asbestos Construction standard and for suggesting a discussion of PACM (below).

The time-weighted average (TWA) permissible exposure limit has been reduced to 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter. The Excursion Limit remains at 1.0 fibers per cubic centimeter averaged over 30 minutes. Both of these values are considered PELs. (permissible exposure limits).

There is no established
action level in the new asbestos exposure standard because the sampling and analytical method is not reliable below the time-weighted average limit of 0.1 fibers per cubic centimeter.

Definition of & Handling Rules for Presumed Asbestos Containing Material (PACM)

Presumed Asbestos Containing Material (PACM) as OSHA defines it refers to thermal insulation and surfacing materials prior to 1980 but within the regulation they also mention that flooring (tile & sheet) and roofing materials shall also be deemed as asbestos containing unless sampled and shown otherwise.

For presumed asbestos-containing materials, there are two courses of action (under OSHA's standards):

  1. Rebut or disprove the Presumed Asbestos Containing Material (PACM )designation for a particular material or environment being addressed
  2. Treat the PACM as Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) and follow the OSHA requirements for protecting worker and building occupant safety and health

According to CIH Kindley,

In both the OSHA Construction Asbestos Standard (29 CFR 1926.1101) and the General Industry Asbestos Standard (29 CFR 1910.1001) PACM is defined as thermal system insulation (TSI) and surfacing material found in a building constructed no later than 1980.

TSI is the material applied to pipes, fittings (joints, "Ts", elbows, valves, etc.), boilers, breechings, tanks, ducts or other structural components, generally to prevent heat loss or gain. Surfacing material refers to materials sprayed, troweled-on or otherwise applied to surfaces generally for acoustical, fireproofing, or other purposes.

Examples of surfacing materials include decorative finishes on ceilings and walls, fireproofing on structural members, and acoustical plasters. OSHA requires that building owners identify PACM in their buildings and treat the PACM as asbestos-containing materials (ACM) until the materials are proven not to contain asbestos.

Occurrence of Asbestos in Common Building Materials

For our complete guide to recognizing asbestos-containing materials in buildings see the individual asbestos-containing products described at ASBESTOS IDENTIFICATION IN BUILDINGS. Two other articles provide longer lists of asbestos-containing products used on or in buildings and in other products as well:


Following are references to some common asbestos-containing building materials discussed in that article series.

Asbestos in Flooring Materials

Everlast Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile (C) D Friedman D Grudzinski

Although not defined strictly as "PACM", both OSHA standards also require asphalt and vinyl flooring material installed no later than 1980 be "considered" and "treated" as asbestos-containing, until the building owner proves the flooring is not ACM.

This includes not only the flooring material, but associated mastics and backings.

See ASBESTOS FLOOR TILE IDENTIFICATION for details about vinyl-asbestos flooring including floor tiles and sheet flooring.

Asbestos in Roofing Materials

Cement asbestos roof shinglesThe risk of high levels of airborne asbestos from cementious roofing products is probably very low unless the workers are using power equipment like sanders and saws on these substances.


According to NRCA, the National Roofing Contractors' Association, their studies up to February 1992 had not found a single roofing job at which these limits were exceeded, and NRCA reported that in some cases no fiber release was detected.

But it appears that the association may have been referring only to asphalt-based roofing materials, not jobs involving the demolition of other ACRM such as cement-asbestos roof shingles (or "asbestos roof tiles" as some consumers refer to them) which might produce different statistics.

Asbestos in Heating Systems

Asbestos heating pipe insulation in poor conditionThe use of corrugated asbestos paper and asbestos cement on heating and some water pipes and pipe elbows has been widely recognized. Because in poor condition this material is more friable than cementious or vinyl-based building products it has received plenty of attention.

See these key articles on heating system and plumbing system asbestos insulation products and locations:

ASBESTOS REMOVAL, Amateur, Incomplete






Asbestos in Siding Materials

New and old fiber cement and asbestos cement shingles side by side (C) Daniel Friedman

The most common siding material containing asbestos fibers was cement-asbestos shingle siding popular from about 1940 to 1970.


It is possible that other siding materials such as asphalt building siding may contain asbestos fibers as well, particularly if that material was produced during the same years that asbestos fibers appear in asphalt roof shingles.

Disposal of Asbestos Containing Flooring, Roofing or Siding Materials

For handling and disposal guidance concerning old roofing material, siding material, vinyl-asbestos floor tiles, asbestos pipe or boiler or furnace insulation, or other asbestos containing or suspect asbestos containing materials at a job-site, contact the US EPA, your state Department of Environmental Protection/Conservation, or your local building and health departments.

Detailed advice & regulations citations for disposing of asbestos containing materials or presumed asbestos containing materials are

At OSHA Asbestos Roof/Siding Regulations we discuss (briefly) the regulation of demolition & removal of cement asbestos or other asbestos containing roofing and siding materials.

At ASBESTOS ROOF MATERIALS we discuss environmental issues surrounding disposal of fiber cement roofing products that contain asbestos.

Asbestos regulations for Ontario are published under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and are

in Ontario Regulation 278/05 also found at

How to Dispose of Vinyl-Asbestos or Asphalt Asbestos-Containing Floor Tiles

Three Options for Disposal of Asbestos-Containing Floor Tiles

The following advice for disposal of vinyl-asbestos or asphalt asbestos floor tiles is adapted from the Minnesota State Department of Health:

State health departments typically recommend that all asbestos debris and waste is disposed of in a landfill that accepts asbestos-containing waste. There are three methods of disposing of asbestos waste and they are:

  • Contact local waste hauler for special pick-up.
  • Contact licensed abatement contractor for pick-up and disposal.
  • Dispose of waste yourself.

Watch out: if you are disposing of asbestos-containing waste yourself, you should contact your local state health department for detailed instructions. For example, while a landfill may accept asbestos-containing-material (ACM) (as the material may be buried and thence non-hazardous, special requirements may apply to protect workers and buildings from asbestos dust during collection, bagging, removal, and transportation.

- Ref: MN DPH

US EPA Guidance on Disposal of Asbestos Floor Tiles

Reader Question:

I recently bought some tile at a garage sale. It wasn’t until I was loading it and turned it over that I read the word asbestos. So now I have this tile. Is this tile safe to install? I’ve attached pics of the box and tile. It is Kentile Vinyl Asbestos Tile 12x12 sheets in Tan Portilla (716) color. The box also has 1K298C on it. I just wanted to know if these should be disposed of or if they are safe. Thank you. - R.R. 9/6/2013


The bottom line, in my opinion, is that you can dispose of intact Kentile or other vinyl-asbestos floor tiles as ordinary construction debris. I base this view on a review of detailed US EPA guidance on asbestos-containing floor tile disposal. The EPA explains that the concern for asbestos hazards focuses on *friable* asbestos - intact vinyl asbestos floor tiles are not friable, but old, installed flooring might *become* friable as a result of aging, exposure to environmental conditions, or damage during demolition of an existing, installed floor. It seems to me that such is *not* the case when you are disposing of "new" old stock vinyl asbestos flooring such as you described.

Below I quote from a letter from the US EPA to Richard A. Griffin, 11 June, 1987 in which the EPA explains this position. Quoting in excerpt form from a letter titled: Re: Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile Removal Prior to building Demolition.

EPA: Disposal of Intact Vinyl-Asbestos Floor Tiles

Vinyl Asbestos Floor Tile Removal Prior to building Demolition

Thank you for your May 1, 1987, letter to Charles Loomis of this office asking if vinyl asbestos floor tile should be removed prior to building demolition. Asbestos removal during building demolition is regulated by the asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP). 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M. I have discussed your inquiry with the Stationary Source Compliance Division of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) in Washington, DC. The answer that follows is a coordinated U.S. EPA response.

The demolition and renovation standards in the asbestos NESHAP apply only to friable asbestos materials, and the waste disposal standards for demolition and renovation operations apply only to friable asbestos waste and asbestos waste from control devices. Friable asbestos includes material containing more than one percent asbestos by weight that can be crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder when dry by hand pressure.

However, the scope of the regulation is not limited just to asbestos containing material that is friable prior to demolition. If vinyl asbestos floor tile becomes friable during demolition or associated waste disposal, then the asbestos NESHAP applies from the point where the tile becomes friable.

Vinyl asbestos floor tile that may become friable during demolition or waste disposal should be removed prior to demolition to preclude the possibility of releasing asbestos fibers and of violating the asbestos NESHAP. Again, the asbestos NESHAP would apply to the removed tile if it becomes friable, from the onset of friability through deposition at an acceptable waste disposal site. Since the liability extends through proper deposition, it would advisable to deposit all vinyl asbestos floor tile that can become friable at an acceptable site.

Region V has delegated its authority to implement and enforce the asbestos NESHAP to all six states in the region. By copy of this letter, I am distributing this response to the State asbestos NESHAP coordinators in Region V. If you have any questions on this matter, you may contact me at (312) 886-6793.

Sincerely yours, Bruce A. Varner NESHAP Coordinator Air Compliance Branch (5AC-26)

cc: Otto Klein Illinois Environmental Protection Agency


  • U.S. EPA, "Floor Tile Removal Prior to Demolition", Retrieved 9/7/2013, original source:

EPA Regulation of handling of firable asbestos materials created during demolition

If friable asbestos materials are created in the demolition process (using imploding), the owner and operator of the demolition operation would be responsible for complying with the notification, wetting, and disposal requirements of 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M.

The regulations define "friable asbestos" material as any material that contains more than l percent
asbestos by weight that hand pressure can crumble, pulverize, or reduce to powder when dry. 40 CFR

These regulations are designed to prevent the escape of asbestos fibers into the air. Therefore, if, at
any point during a renovation or demolition operation, friable asbestos materials are created from nonfriable
forms, this additional friable material becomes subject to the regulations from the time of
creation. The owner or operator must follow the notification, wetting and disposal requirements of 40
CFR Part 61, Subpart M in regard to this newly created material.


  • U.S. EPA, "Creation of Friable Tiles During Implosion", retrieved 9/7/2013, original source:, excerpted above, in a US EPA letter to Richard Miller, dated 4 December 1987, the EPA addressed friable asbestos that might be created during demolition of a building that contained vinyl asbestos floor tiles.

    Significant is that the title to the letter includes the following comment

    EPA believes that the demo. tech. of imploding a bldg doesnt render floor tile friable; therfore, NESHAP reg don't apply.

    While the body of the letter appears to contradict that comment by including the following text:

    This technique is unusual and could result in the creation of friable asbestos from the nonfriable vinyl floor tile. EPA is not in a position to determine whether friable asbestos will be created from the vinyl floor tile during the unique demolition process you plan to utilize. However, should friable asbestos materials be created in the demolition process, the owner and operator of the demolition operation would be responsible for complying with the notification, wetting, and disposal requirements of 40 CFR Part 61, Subpart M. The owner or operator would be subject to Federal enforcement procedures of Section 113 of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7413, for any violations of the Asbestos NESHAP which arise during the operation.

  • U.S. EPA, "Deconstruction - Building Disassembly and Material Salvage: The Riverdale Case Study", Prepared for: US Environmental Protection Agency The Urban and Economic Development Division By: NAHB Research Center, Inc. Upper Marlboro, Maryland Assistance Agreement Number: CX 8244809 June 1997, retrieved 9/7/2013, original source:

Government Advice on Disposal of Asbestos Containing Flooring, Roofing or Siding Materials in buildings

For handling and disposal guidance concerning old roofing material, siding material, vinyl-asbestos floor tiles, asbestos pipe or boiler or furnace insulation, or other asbestos containing or suspect asbestos containing materials at a job-site, contact the US EPA, your state Department of Environmental Protection/Conservation, or your local building and health departments.

The US EPA points out in Adequately Wet Guidance, EPA340/1-90-019 that asbestos-containing floor tiles are considered non-friable materials but the materials can become friable with age or by grinding, sanding, demolition, etc. Also see ASBESTOS REMOVAL, Wetting Guidelines

Non-friable miscellaneous ACM includes floor tiles, asbestos cement sheet (transite board), siding shingles, asphalt roofing shingles, laboratory bench tops and even chalkboards. These materials may become friable with age, and under harsh conditions. Category I non-friable ACM must be carefully examined to determine if the material is in poor condition, that is, if the binding material is losing its integrity, exhibited by peeling, cracking or crumbling; and is also friable. When Category I non-friable ACM has become friable it is subject to the NESHAP.

If Category I or II ACM is sanded, ground, cut or abraded it is also covered by the NESHAP. Category II non-friable ACM which is damaged to the extent that it has or will become crumbled, pulverized or reduced to powder due to demolition/ renovation activities, is subject to the Asbestos NESHAP.

Miscellaneous materials are wetted in manners similar to those used to wet other categories of RACM. Coverings are saturated with a wetting agent before removal and the asbestos-containing portions fully penetrated with the agent prior to, during and after their removal, while stored in the removal area, and while being placed into disposal containers. Miscellaneous materials that don't absorb water readily (e.g., asbestos-concrete products, and floor tiles) are only required to have wetted surfaces. A misting sprayer may be used to diminish airborne asbestos fiber levels.


Continue reading at ASBESTOS REGULATION Update includes more recent asbestos regulations for the U.S. and other countries. That article clarifies just what products are currently permitted or not permitted to contain asbestos. - or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.\

Or see


EPA Asbestos Materials Bans: Clarification - 2003


EPA Asbestos Materials Bans-1989


Asbestos regulations for Ontario, Canada - Ontario Regulation 278/05

Suggested citation for this web page

ASBESTOS MATERIAL REGULATIONS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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