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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.
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.
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articles, Internet information, even some currently available (but outdated) documents from the EPA and other federal agencies may contain statements about an EPA asbestos ban that are incorrect.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
- 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
III. TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL ACT (TSCA) Authority:
A. July 1989 EPA rule commonly known as the "Asbestos Ban and Phase out Rule" (40
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:
flooring felt, and
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 corrugated sheet
asbestos-cement flat sheet
automatic transmission components
disc brake pads
drum brake linings
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
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
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:
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
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 closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Is my home safe and non-toxic?
(Apr 3, 2014) Eddee said:
Considering buying an older home, constructed with Cemesto, by Celotex. Wondering if this is a safe non-toxic home considering the asbestos within the product. Bottom line, is a Cemesto constructed home "safe"?
Eddee I'd be even dumber than I seem if I promised that a home were "safe" based on a one-line e-text query; you're far more likely to be injured falling down stairs than by cement-asbestos siding.
Cemesto was an asbestos-cement product produced by Celotex as early as 1937. I think part of its appeal was for the speed and economy of fast, mass-produced pre-fab housing, as it was made in thick, long and wide panels. That made the material structurally strong as well as durable.
The hazards of asbestos cement products occur principally during demolition, sawing, or other dust-producing activities.
(Apr 3, 2014) Eddee said:
Thank you. I had thought a quick one line query would not be overbearing and technical, sorry for being so evasive. Was thinking about purchasing a home that was exactly as you described, pre-fabbed, mass produced and built in 1942. Structurally, the home seems good, I was just concerned with the asbestos within the cement. You know, we hear, "asbestos" and tend to freak out. However, if the hazards are most consistent with demo, cutting, and producing particulates I think we're good. Thanks for your reply, appreciate your time.
The issues are well understood. Over at my articles on EnviroScare I point out that even when risks are later proven to be zero, the impact on real estate of topics that frighten people never fall off to zero.
(Apr 28, 2015) scott said:
seeking list of roof ACMs that are aligned with OSHA's incidental and Class II asbestos work on roofs
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.
Thanks to Susan Kimball, Argus Pacific Corp., Puget Sound, WA, for pointing out that some products are permitted to contain more than 1% asbestos fibers by current standards provided that the fibers are encapsulated in an appropriate binder. Argus Pacific, in Seattle, WA 98119, 206.285.3373, is an industrial hygiene firm who also provide OSHA and DOSH regulated training in Washington State, providing classes in asbestos, lead, mold, hazardous waste, emergency response, and other occupational health, safety, and professional development topics. -- September 2008.
"Asbestos, What You Should Know", Government of South Australia, web search 10.05.2010, original source: http://www.safework.sa.gov.au/uploaded_files/asbestos_whatyoushouldknow.pdf
SafeWork SA Mineral Fibres Unit, Telephone: (08) 8303 0405
Dr Joe Crea, Chief Advisor - Hazardous Substances, SafeWork SA, Telephone: (08) 8303 0207, E-mail: email@example.com
Asbestos Victims Association (SA) INC, Telephone: (08) 8331 0254
Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), Telephone: (08) 8204 2004
Bill Bradley, Darwin NT, Australia, web search 10/05/2010, original source: http://www.builderbill-diy-help.com/asbestos.html
 Celotex 1973 Celotex Acoustical Systems catalog, January 1973
 Celotex Home Building Materials, 1947 catalog, lists: Cane fiber products: Celotex sheathing, Celotex insulating lath (board), Celotex interior finish, Celo-Siding, Celo-Rok Gypsum products [may contain asbestos]: Celo-Rok anchor lath, Celo-Rock wallboards, Celo-Rok plasters, and Other Products: Celotex rock wool, Celotex roofing, Celotex hard boards, Celotex Cemesta, Celotex Corporation, Chicago IL
Celotex ceiling products division was purchased by Ceiling Products & Gypsum Wallboard (BPB) of the U.K. beginning in 1999
Celotex roofing products division was purchased by Certainteed Corporation (Valley Forge PA) beginning in 1999
 Certainteed Ceilings, Adagio fiberglass/mineral fiber composite acoustical ceiling product MSDS, web search 11/22/2011, original source: certainteed.com/resources/Adagio_MSDS_2010.pdf
 "Board of Education for the School District of the City of Detroit v. Celotex, et al., Circuit Court of Wayne County, Michigan, No. 84-429634-ND"
 Armstrong Corporation, web search 6/22/12, original source: http://www.armstrong.rs/commclgeu/eu1/uk/rs/FAQ_other.html, [Copy on file as Armstrong_Ceil_Asbestos.pdf]
 Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC, "Carpenters and Mesothelioma", Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC, 135 Delaware Ave, 5th Floor, Buffalo, NY 14202-2415 (716) 849-0701. Web search 6/22/12, original source: http://www.mesotheliomacarpenter.com/carpenters-asbestos-exposure/ceiling-tile/ [Copy on file as LiIpsitz_Asbestos.pdf]
 INACHI forum discussion about asbestos ceiling tiles, web search 6/22/12, original source: http://www.nachi.org/forum/f18/asbestos-ceiling-tiles-14709/ [Copy on file as Inach_Ceil_Asbestos.pdf]
 Celotex [UK] History, Celotex Insulation Specialists, web search 6/30/12, original source: http://www.celotex.co.uk/celotex-history [Copy on file as Celotex_History_UK.pdf ]
 Wikipedia provided background information about some topics discussed at this website provided this citation is also found in the same article along with a " retrieved on" date. NOTE: because Wikipedia entries are fluid and can be amended in real time, we cite the retrieval date of Wikipedia citations and we do not assert that the information found there is necessarily authoritative. Web search 6/30/12: "Ceiling Tiles"
 Brian Greer, "History of Tin Ceilings", Brian Greer's Tin Ceilings, web search 6/30/12, original source: http://www.tinceiling.com/company/historytin.php
 Armstrong Corporation, "Corporate History: a Historical Summary", web search 6/30/12, original source: http://www.armstrong.com/corporate/corporate-history.html
 "Ceilings Pressed in Time", Old House Journal, web search 6/30/12, original source: http://www.oldhousejournal.com/ceillings_pressed_in_time/magazine/1070
 Steven Mlynarek, Morton Corn, Charles Blake, "Asbestos Exposure of Building Maintenance Personnel", Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 23, 213–224 (1996) ARTICLE NO. 0045, http://library.certh.gr/libfiles/PDF/GEN-PAPYR-4810-ASBESTOS-by-MLYNAREK
 National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (1989). In NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (P. M. Eller, Ed.),
Method 7400. NIOSH, Washington, DC.
 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA—Green Book) (1990). In Managing Asbestos in Place: A Building Owners Guide to Operations and Maintenance Programs for Asbestos-Containing
 U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (USDOL) (1994). In Occupational Exposure to Asbestos:
Final Rule, FR Vol. 59, No. 153:40964–41162. Materials, Report 2OT-2003. USEPA, Washington, DC.
 U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(USDOL) (1986). In Occupational Exposure to Asbestos: Tremolite,
Anthophyllite, and Actinolite: Final Rule, FR Vol. 51,
 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (1990). In Environmental Asbestos Assessment Manual, Superfund Method for the Determination of Asbestos in Ambient Air, Part 2, Technical Background Document, Report EPA/540/2-90/005 b. USEPA, Washington, DC
 Ceiling - Frequently Asked Questions, Armstrong Corporation, web search 6/30/12, original source: http://www.armstrong.com/resclgam/na/ceilings/en/us/article17697.html
 BPB America Inc.,
5301 West Cypress St., Suite 300,
Tampa, FL 33607,
Web: www.bpb-na.com. Acoustic ceiling tile & accessories.
 Affa Tile Company
No. 1116/8, Poonamalee High Road, Opposite Hotel Shan Royal, Koyambedu
Chennai, Tamil Nadu - 600 107, India, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org website: http://www.affatiles.com Tel:044-24757498, 044 - 24757497
 Made-in-China.com, online sevice to connect buyers with product suppliers in China, web search 6/30/12
 "Directive 2003/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 March 2003 amending Council Directive 83/477/EEC on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to asbestos at work". Publications Office of the European Union. 27 March 2003 Web search 6/30/12, original source: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32003L0018:EN:NOT,
 H. M. Murray, testimony before the Departmental Committee on Compensation for Industrial Diseases "Minutes of Evidence, Appendices and Index", 1907. p. 127
 D. Auribault, "Note sur l'Hygiène et la Sécurité des Ouvriers dans les Filatures et Tissages d'Amianté (On hygiene and security of the workers in the spinning and weaving of asbestos)" in Le Bulletin de l'Inspection du Travail, 1906, pp 120–132.
 Wikipedia entry on Asbestos and various citations from that article, web search 6/30/12, original source: en.wikipedia.org "Asbestos"
Asbestos Identification, Walter C.McCrone, McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, IL.1987 ISBN 0-904962-11-3. Dr. McCrone literally "wrote the book" on asbestos identification procedures which formed
the basis for current work by asbestos identification laboratories.
Stanton, .F., et al., National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 506: 143-151
Pott, F., Staub-Reinhalf Luft 38, 486-490 (1978) cited by McCrone
ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME U.S. EPA, Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
Asbestos NESHAP ADEQUATELY WET ASBESTOS GUIDANCE, EPA340/1-90-019, December 1990, U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, Stationary Source Compliance Division, Washington, DC 20460,original web source: http://www.epa.gov/region04/air/asbestos/awet.htm
Asbestos products and their history and use in various building materials such as asphalt and vinyl flooring includes discussion which draws on ASBESTOS, ITS INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS, ROSATO 1959, D.V. Rosato, engineering consultant, Newton, MA, Reinhold Publishing, 1959 Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 59-12535 (out of print, text and images available at InspectAPedia.com).
"Handling Asbestos-Containing roofing material - an update", Carl Good, NRCA Associate Executive Director, Professional Roofing, February 1992, p. 38-43
EPA Asbestos Materials Bans-1989: 1989 (OBSOLETE)
On July 12, 1989, EPA issued a final rule banning most asbestos-containing products. In 1991, this regulation was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. As a result of the Court's decision, the following specific asbestos-containing products remain banned: flooring felt, rollboard, and corrugated, commercial, or specialty paper. In addition, the regulation continues to ban the use of asbestos in products that have not historically contained asbestos, otherwise referred to as "new uses" of asbestos.
Web Search 01/20/2011, original source: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/ban.html - quoting:
Below are four relevant Federal Register notices [ concerning asbestos manufacture, use, and bans in the U.S.] :
Code of Federal Regulations and Federal Register Notices
Code of Federal Regulations
40 CFR Part 763 - Asbestos (PDF) (96 pp, 588K, about PDF), web search 01/2/2011, original source: http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/pubs/2003pt763.pdf
Subpart E - Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools
Subpart G - Asbestos Worker Protection
Subpart I - Prohibition of the Manufacture, Importation, Processing and Distribution in Commerce of Certain Asbestos-Containing Products; Labeling Requirements
Federal Register Notices - The Government Printing Office maintains a searchable database of all Federal Register (FR) Notices.
EPA also maintains a searchable listing of Federal Register Notices published by EPA.
EPA Guidance for Controlling Asbestos-Containing Materials in buildings, NIAST, National Institute on Abatement Sciences & Technology, [republishing EPA public documents] 1985 ed., Exposure Evaluation Division, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington,D.C. 20460
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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