Asbestos ceiling tiles in good condition Regulations: Asbestos in Materials 1999 & 2003 EPA Clarifications of U.S. Asbestos Regulations

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

Asbestos is permitted in certain current product: this article provides an adaptation of an EPA clarification regarding banned asbestos materials that was issued in 1999. Here you can read just what products are currently permitted or not permitted to contain asbestos.

The EPA clarification explains that asbestos is permitted in some products at levels over 1% where the fibers are encapsulated. The clarification lists examples of products in which asbestos is permitted and also lists examples of products in which the complete ban on use of asbestos remains in effect.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2015, All Rights Reserved.

Important U.S. EPA Asbestos Materials Bans: Clarifications - May 18, 1999 & 2003

Tremoite asbestos ceilint giles as fireproofing (C) Daniel FriedmanArticle Contents

This website provides photographs and descriptive text of asbestos insulation and other asbestos-containing products to permit identification of definite, probable, or possible asbestos materials in buildings.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Our page top photograph is of an obsolete ceiling tile which may contain asbestos in a form not permitted by current regulations.

Photo at left: Tremolite asbestos ceiling insulation panels.

This article reports the US EPA 1999 Asbestos Material Bans Clarification and the 2003 Asbestos Ban clarification issued by the EPA. In the U.S. the U.S. EPA regulates the production of asbestos-containing products such that beginning in 1989 six forms of asbestos continued in use. They are described here.

A copy of the previous, now obsolete US EPA 1989 Asbestos Bans is EPA ACM Ban 1989-Obsolete and the clarification (reproduced entirely just below) is also available a
t EPA Asbestos Materials Bans: Clarification 2003

I. Introduction:

  • This clarification presents correct information with regard to the status of asbestos products that are banned by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at this time, as well as categories of asbestos-containing products that are NOT subject to a ban.
  • The clarification is needed because EPA finds that there are misunderstandings about its bans on asbestos-containing materials (ACM) and products or uses. Newspaper and magazine articles, Internet information, even some currently available (but outdated) documents from the EPA and other federal agencies may contain statements about an EPA asbestos ban that are incorrect.
  • EPA asbestos regulations fall primarily under the authority of two different federal laws and their resulting implementations:
    • the Clean Air Act (CAA) (e.g., Asbestos National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, or NESHAP) rules, and
    • the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) (e.g.,Asbestos Ban and Phase out) Asbestos rules.

* Note that the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) also developed bans on use of asbestos in certain consumer products such as textured paint, wall patching compounds. For more detailed information, contact the CPSC Hotline, at 1-800-638-2772.

II. CLEAN AIR ACT (CAA) Authority:

EPA Asbestos NESHAP BANS ON USAGE OF CERTAIN ACM (In Facilities Regulated by the NESHAP Rule, Nov. 1990 Revision; 40 CFR 60, Subpart M)

A. Most spray-applied Surfacing ACM: *

  • 1973 NESHAP, banned for fireproofing/insulating
  • 1978 NESHAP, banned for "decorative" purposes

* The Nov. 1990 revised asbestos NESHAP prohibits spray-on application of materials containing more than 1% asbestos to buildings, structures, pipes, and conduits unless the material is encapsulated with a bituminous or resinous binder during spraying and the materials are not friable after drying.

* The revised NESHAP still allows, on equipment and machinery, spray-on application of materials that contain more than 1% asbestos where the asbestos fibers in the materials are encapsulated with a bituminous or resinous binder during spraying and the materials are not friable after drying; or for friable materials, where either no visible emissions are discharged to the outside air from spray-on application, or specified methods are used to clean emissions containing particulate asbestos material before they escape to, or are vented to, the outside air.

B. Thermal System Insulation:

- 1975 NESHAP, banned installation of wet-applied and pre-formed (molded) asbestos
pipe insulation.

- 1975 NESHAP, banned installation of pre-formed (molded) asbestos block insulation
on boilers and hot water tanks.

C. Is there a NESHAP ban on troweled-on Surfacing ACM? No; that particular application was not banned by the most recent NESHAP revision, which was November 1990


A. July 1989 EPA rule commonly known as the "Asbestos Ban and Phase out Rule" (40 CFR 763 Subpart I, Sec. 762.160 - 763.179)

NOTE: Much of the original rule was vacated and remanded by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in 1991. Thus, the original 1989 EPA ban on the U.S. manufacture, importation, processing, or distribution in commerce of many asbestos-containing product categories was set aside and did not remain in effect.

B. Federal Register, Nov. 5, 1993 (58 FR 58964), Factual determinations: "Continuing restrictions on certain asbestos-containing products."

In this FR notice, EPA stated its position regarding the status of its ban on various asbestos containing product categories. The status is briefly summarized below:

Asbestos-containing Products still banned - Six asbestos-containing product categories that are still subject to the asbestos ban include:

  1. corrugated paper
  2. rollboard
  3. commercial paper
  4. specialty paper
  5. flooring felt, and
  6. new uses of asbestos

Asbestos-containing Products that are not banned - still permitted

Asbestos-containing product categories no longer subject to the 1989 TSCA ban include:

  • asbestos-cement shingle
  • asbestos-cement corrugated sheet
  • asbestos-cement flat sheet
  • asbestos-cement pipe
  • asbestos clothing
  • automatic transmission components
  • brake blocks
  • clutch facings
  • disc brake pads
  • drum brake linings
  • friction materials
  • gaskets
  • millboard
  • non-roofing coatings
  • pipeline wrap
  • roofing felt
  • roof coatings
  • vinyl-asbestos floor tile

C. Federal Register, June 28, 1994 (59 FR 33208), "Technical Amendment in Response to Court Decision on Asbestos; ..."

Revised the language of the asbestos ban rule to conform to the 1991 Court decision. Contains definitions; manufacturing and importation prohibitions; processing, and distribution in commerce prohibitions. Also clarifies labeling requirements for specified asbestos-containing products. (Note: these FR notices can be found on the EPA OPPT asbestos page under "Laws and Regulations."


A. BANS on some ACM products and uses remain at this time (April 1999)

What are they?

Under the Clean Air Act:

  • Most spray-applied Surfacing ACM
  • Sprayed-on application of materials containing more than 1% asbestos to buildings, structures, pipes, and conduits unless the material is encapsulated with a bituminous or resinous binder during spraying and the materials are not friable
    after drying.
  • Wet-applied and pre-formed asbestos pipe insulation, and pre-formed asbestos block insulation on boilers and hot water tanks

Under the Toxic Substances Control Act:

  • Corrugated paper
  • rollboard
  • commercial paper
  • specialty paper
  • flooring felt
  • and new uses of asbestos

B. EPA has no existing bans on most other asbestos-containing products or uses

EPA does NOT track the manufacture, processing, or distribution in commerce of asbestos-containing products.

We t would be prudent for a consumer or other buyer to inquire as to the presence of asbestos in particular products.

Possible sources of that information would include inquiring of the dealer/supplier or manufacturer, refer to the product's "Material Safety Data Sheet" (MSDS), or consider having the material tested by a qualified laboratory for the presence of asbestos.

For further information, contact the TSCA Assistance Information Service at 202-554-1404, or your EPA Regional Asbestos Coordinator for the state in which you live.


Continue reading at ASBESTOS MATERIAL REGULATIONS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Or see



Suggested citation for this web page

EPA ASBESTOS MATERIALS BAN 1999 CLARIFICATION at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

More Reading

Green link shows where you are in this article series.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Questions & answers or comments about asbestos regulations, bans, & the recognition of health hazards from ACM exposure, world wide.

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References