Subpart I – Prohibition of the Manufacture, Importation, Processing and Distribution in Commerce of Certain Asbestos-Containing Products; Labeling Requirements
This section of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 763 deals with asbestos containing materials and specifically prohibits manufacture, importation, processing, and distribution of most asbestos construction materials. This rule became effective in 1989, reflecting the growing realization of the dangerous potential of asbestos materials in the home, particularly materials that might become friable with time.
Complications with the EPA Asbestos Materials Bans
Not all asbestos materials are banned by asbestos regulations, in part due to a complicated web of legislation that has deal with environmental asbestos contamination (the Clean Air Act) and toxic substances (the Toxic Substances Control Act). Even the Consumer Product Safety Commission has been involved in asbestos bans, specifically targeting certain paints and wall patching compounds.
Materials banned by the Clean Air Act
The CAA bans all spray-on applications of asbestos materials that contain more than 1% asbestos by weight. These applications are dangerous due to the fact that they are exceptionally friable and easy to break down. This application was previously used as quick fireproofing or soundproofing with the most enduring application being “popcorn ceilings” that are present in thousands of homes. As these materials age, they will release fibers. CAA regulations require the adequate wetting of the material and scrapping before double bagging the asbestos waste for appropriate disposal. It is important to note however, that is still legal to use an asbestos spray application on machinery and other equipment, provided emissions are not a byproduct of the spraying process and that the coating is well maintained or sealed. This is a complicated provision that will certainly require compliance with an asbestos inspector and the OHSA before proceeding.
The CAA also placed bans on asbestos as thermal insulation, as asbestos compounds had been molded to insulate pipes and other heating equipment in homes and schools. Wall texturing however, which does contain some asbestos when it is “troweled on” is not subject to this ban.
Materials banned by the Toxic Substances Control Act
The TSCA bans all new uses of asbestos, as well as asbestos in corrugated paper, rollboard, commercial paper,) specialty paper and flooring felt. Flooring felt was used to secure roofing tiles or vinyl flooring tiles to surfaces. While these tiles also contained asbestos, it is also very tightly sealed, preventing asbestos fibers form escaping. The felt however is exceptionally friable and may cause severe emissions if those tiles are removed incorrectly.
Materials not banned
Unless specified above, all other applications of asbestos, including brakes, tiles, shingles, gaskets, asbestos clothing and asbestos cement are not banned under subpart I.