Asbestos Laws

Written by Jill Morrison
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Asbestos laws have been created to protect people from the harmful health effects of asbestos exposure. Asbestos has been used in thousands of products for hundreds of years. These products may include materials for roofing, building, flooring, ships, vehicle brakes, paints, paper products, and plastics. Most businesses no longer use asbestos in their products and building materials. Those who do must manage these materials carefully, according to law.

Types of Asbestos Laws

The first suit dealing with asbestos exposure took place in 1966 and the first suit won in asbestos litigation was in 1973. This suit was won by a patient who suffered from the disease of asbestosis, which affects breathing and creates scar tissue in the lungs. By 1989, materials used for construction and manufacturing that contained asbestos were completely banned from production. Additional laws regarding the health effects of asbestos exposure have been created since then.

Laws and regulations regarding asbestos can be found in the Clean Air Act (CAA), Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Register (FR), and the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have created laws to protect workers, students, employees, and other building occupants from exposure to asbestos. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is another valuable resource for asbestos protection.

OSHA has created two main laws for protection in construction professions and general industry professions. The General Industry Standard covers automotive brake and clutch repair as well as housekeeping activities in buildings. The Construction Standard covers renovations and building demolition operations where asbestos is present. The EPA has also created two laws to protect workers from asbestos exposure. The Asbestos Worker Protection Rule extends protection to local and state government workers who are not covered by OSHA laws. The Asbestos-in-School Rule requires schools to make frequent inspections for the presence of harmful asbestos materials.


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