Asbestos in the U.S. may be breathing its last gasps, as the Senate today passed the Ban Asbestos in America Act. Passage in the House is expected to be imminent. Championed by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) for the past six years, this legislation would finally ban asbestos, invest federal funding in development of effective treatment for asbestos' most deadly cancer, mesothelioma (meso), and other asbestos-related diseases, and launch a public education campaign. With bipartisan support provided by Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA), the bill was approved unanimously by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), on August 2, and passed by the full Senate late this afternoon.
Asbestos was used widely for fireproofing and insulation until the 1970s. Scientists say its inhaled fibers are linked to cancer and other diseases. Hundreds of thousands of injury claims have been filed in U.S. courts, and dozens of companies, such as Federal-Mogul Corp. and chemical company W.R. Grace & Co., have filed for bankruptcy protection as a result.
Asbestos was banned from commercial use in the 1970’s after it was declared a hazardous air pollutant. Friable asbestos products were banned immediately while non-friable products would be phased out gradually while replacements for asbestos products were developed. Asbestos materials are divided into two categories; friable and non-friable. Friable asbestos is asbestos material that can be reduced to powder by hand pressure such as pipe insulation or sprayed on ceiling material and can become air-borne by touch. Non-friable contains everything else. In 1996, the EPA lifted the total ban on asbestos allowing it to be used to a limited degree in non-friable products.
Asbestos has long been known for its excellent insulating qualities and resistance to heat. Contrary to popular belief, asbestos is still allowed in certain building materials and applications. Products manufactured in Canada and Mexico are unregulated and available for purchase in the USA. Therefore it is impossible to say that homes built after a certain date do not contain any asbestos. Some sources state that asbestos was banned in 1979, and others say 1989, but in fact some of the bans were overturned. There are currently 6 materials that are prohibited from containing asbestos, if manufactured in the USA.
Asbestos was banned in all home construction uses beginning in 1990, but beware: pre 1990 products might have been used in some homes built shortly afterwards. One should note that some of these products contain such small amounts of asbestos, or asbestos in forms not easily converted to airborne fibers (non-friable), that the risk from the product is likely to be very small. One might elect to dispose of an old asbestos-containing toaster, but not to hire an environmental test firm or asbestos abatement company for that procedure.
In the late 1970s, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the use of asbestos in wallboard patching compounds and gas fireplaces because the asbestos fibers in these products could be released into the environment during use. Additionally, in 1979, manufacturers of electric hairdryers voluntarily stopped using asbestos in their products. In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all new uses of asbestos; uses established prior to 1989 are still allowed. The EPA ... established regulations that require school systems to inspect for damaged asbestos and to eliminate or reduce the exposure to occupants by removing the asbestos or encasing it
The National Economic and Social Advisory Council has recommended banning imports and sales in Thailand of asbestos, which has been linked to health problems including cancer.Thailand has imported asbestos for 30 years, and manufacturers say it is still necessary for the industrial sector to use the product until Thai researchers provide medical proof of a cancer link. While asbestos is used in 114 countries, it is banned in 48 countries, mostly in Europe. Countries including the US, Canada, Brazil, China, Indonesia and Malaysia allow its use in some products. UranKleosakul, marketing director of Oranvanich Co, the producer of Oran roof tiles, said that 70% of all roof tiles were made of asbestos. A ban of the mineral would affect around 570,000 households or 2 million people, most of which are low to middle income earners."If [asbestos] is banned, we will stop production since it will be cheaper than having to pay for damage [caused by low quality non-asbestos tiles], which are two times weaker than non-asbestos tiles," he said.Thailand last year imported 69,000 tonnes of asbestos from Russia and Canada. Prices are currently around US$400 per tonne compared with $300 three to four years ago due to increased demand in China, Brazil and Russia.
In Thailand, about 90% of the asbestos sold goes into roof tiles and cement pipes. The rest goes into the production of brakes and clutches, vinyl floor tiles, gaskets and heat-insulating materials.SuwitPanyasewanamit, managing director of Polytex Industry Co, a distributor of motor brakes, said the company would raise prices if asbestos is banned, as 70-80% of it is used in making brake pads.(Source: Bangkok Post, INDUSTRY, Asbestos ban could affect prices, 21/01/2011, NanchanokWongsamuth, link) asbestos - a mineral with fibers (magnesium silicate) "used for fireproofing, electrical insulation, building materials, brake linings, and chemical filters, the small fibres can cause cancer when lodged in the lungs" (See Wikipedia) ban - an official statement ordering people not to do, sell or use something การห้าม
NESDB (National Economic and Social Development Board or "Sa-pa-pat") - Thai government planning agency for economic development, creates five year plans with an agenda of: 1. Alleviation of Poverty and Income Distribution problems, 2. Enhancing Thailand’s Competitiveness, 3. Promoting Social Capital Development, 4. Promoting Sustainable Development (See Wikipedia)linked - connected เชื่อมโยงsector - a part of the economy ภาคเศรษฐกิจของประเทศ (public sector = government, private sector = all businesses, household sector = families and consumers, banking sector,...) (See Wikipedia)industrial sector - all the companies that manufacture and produce goods and products provide - to give someone something that they want or needproof - some fact or argument that shows the truth of somethinglink - to connect เชื่อม
banned - officially not allowed to do something ถูกห้าม, ห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ ถูกตัดสิทธิproducer - a person who makes the practical and financial arrangements needed to make a film, play, television or radio programmeผู้อำนวยการสร้างภาพยนต์, ผู้ผลิตmineral - a valuable or useful chemical substance which is formed naturally in the ground แร่households - families or groups of people living together (economics treats this as a unit that makes decisions)income - money that people receive from work or some other source, used for household consumption and savingsdemand - the desire or need for goods or services by households and businesses clutch - the pedal in front of the driver in a car that is pressed to change the gear of the car (See Wikipedia)vinyl - a shiny and tough and flexible plastic; used especially for floor coverings gasket - a sealing device used between two parts to prevent leakage (See Wikipedia)insulating - protecting the inside from the outside (usually from outside heat) การป้องกัน (ความร้อน)brake pads - the two pads in a brake that come together to slow and stop a car's forward motion (See Wikipedia)