When Was Asbestos Banned
So that we can begin to identify when asbestos was banned we need to look at the history f the material in the construction industry. Asbestos related diseases were identified by scientists as early as in the 1920s. After this, workers started to file compensation cases in court which were resolved in secrecy and the cases came into light in the 1970s.
The health issues that asbestos presented to anyone who was exposed to the material for significant periods of time. The main reason that led to the banning of asbestos as a construction material was due to its close affiliation with asbestosis. This is a lung disease that was first noticed in textile workers. The disease scars the tissues in the lungs due to acid produced by the body’s attempt to dissolve the asbestos fibers in the lungs. The scarring with time becomes severe and the lungs can no longer function. The disease takes 10 to 20 years to develop and when asbestos was banned this contributed to the decision greatly. Another disease related to asbestos that affects the respiratory system is Mesothelioma.
It is a kind of cancer that affects the mesothelial lining in the lungs and chest cavity. It also affects the abdominal cavity and the sac surrounding the heart. This particular cancer has no association with smoking like lung cancer. The only factor that causes this type of cancer is asbestos fibers that contain carcinogens that are associated with lung cancer.
When asbestos was banned this was cited as a chief health risk to individuals who were exposed to asbestos fibers and the latency period of the disease was put between 20 to 50 years after which it becomes fully blown. After a patient is diagnosed with this terminal cancer, the life expectancy is 12 months after diagnosis. Asbestos is also associated with cancer of the lung, gastrointestinal tract, kidney and larynx cancer. This link between asbestos and a wide range of cancers led to its ban in the late 1970s after the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) declared that asbestos should not be used in wallboards, patching compounds and gas fireplaces because the use of asbestos in these places led to asbestos fibers being released in the environment. This did not constitute an actual ban and manufacturers voluntarily withdrew electric hair dryers that had asbestos in their components.
The actual time when asbestos was banned was July 12 1989 when the EPA issued a final banning on most products that contained asbestos in them. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned this decision and allowed asbestos to be used in materials that had been manufactured prior to 1989. However, after the court’s decision, flooring felt, roll board and corrugated materials that had asbestos in their structure remained banned. This ban was also applied to products that did not historically contain asbestos which are referred to as ‘new uses’ of asbestos. Regulations from the EPA require schools to inspect for damaged asbestos and eliminate them so that the fibers are not released into the atmosphere. These regulations are still in force today.