Current Uses of Asbestos
It is a widely held misconception that asbestos products are completely banned in the United States. While its use in many capacities has indeed been banned by the EPA, the mineral is still used as a component in various materials. As a matter of fact, the last asbestos mine in the U.S. closed in 2002, despite the material being banned from many commercial uses in the 1970s.
Amphibole and Chrysotile Asbestos
Asbestos is still used in a wide variety of ways. Today, dense chrysotile asbestos is used instead of the amphibole materials, which were widely used in the past. Chrysotile asbestos is short and curly, making it much more resistant to flaking than the long and thin amphibole fibers.
Amphibole asbestos is more friable, meaning it breaks apart easier. Its fibers can blow into the air, which is how it ends up in peoples’ lungs. Chrysotile asbestos is non-friable. However, this does not make chrysotile asbestos much safer, as researchers have found that chrysotile asbestos can still be held responsible for causing mesothelioma.
Some of the products that are presently allowed to contain chrysotile asbestos include roof shingles, asbestos-cement sheets and pipes, and joint cements. Additionally, spray-on materials containing less than 1% asbestos are still allowed by the EPA’s Clean Air Act.
No matter how safe chrysotile asbestos regulations may be, asbestos is still a dangerous material. Construction workers and maintenance workers are especially at risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, such as mesothelioma, the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Help Center can help. Fill out the contact form at the top of the page for the support and information that you need.