Proposed EPA Asbestos Rule

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a significant new use rule (SNUR) for certain uses of asbestos (including asbestos-containing goods) that would require manufacturers and importers to receive EPA approval before starting or resuming manufacturing, and importing or processing of asbestos.

This review process would require EPA to evaluate the intended use of asbestos and, when necessary, take action to prohibit or limit the use.

This proposed SNUR broadens EPA’s 1989 restrictions on asbestos products.

EPA is proposing to ensure that the manufacture, import, or processing for the currently unregulated new uses of asbestos identified in the rule are prohibited unless reviewed and approved by EPA.

In the absence of this proposed rule, the importing or processing of asbestos (including as part of an article) for the significant new uses proposed in this rule may begin at any time, without prior notice to EPA.

The following asbestos uses are banned:

  • Corrugated paper;
  • Rollboard;
  • Commercial paper;
  • Specialty paper;
  • Flooring felt; and
  • New commercial uses that begin after August 25, 1989

The following are potential market uses of asbestos prevented by the SNUR:

  • Asbestos arc chutes;
  • Asbestos pipeline wrap;
  • Asbestos separators in fuel cells and batteries;
  • Asbestos-reinforced plastics;
  • Beater-add gaskets;
  • Extruded sealant tape;
  • Filler for acetylene cylinders;
  • High-grade electrical paper;
  • Millboard;
  • Missile liner;
  • Roofing felt;
  • Vinyl-asbestos floor tile;
  • Adhesives and Sealants;
  • Roof and Non-Roof Coatings; and
  • Other Building Products (other than cement products).

If you are exposed to asbestos at your workplace above the Permissible Exposure Level (PEL) for asbestos, additional training in the use of any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided by your employer for your safety is warranted.