An Overview of Asbestos in the United States

Asbestos is one of the many minerals used in industrial products, mainly because of it is resistant to fire, heat, and chemicals and provides good insulation from electricity. Because of these characteristics, asbestos has been used commercially since the early 1800’s, with its popularity hitting its highest during World War II. The ban for asbestos use, however, started at 1970’s when US Consumer Product Safety Commission decided to stop the use as it posed health dangers: it gets released to the surroundings when used.

Asbestos is a well-known health hazard, and because of this OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) have been monitoring and regulating its use and manufacturing. Asbestos fibers are very small to be seen by the naked eye, making it more difficult to know if you are being exposed or not. Heavy and long exposure to asbestos has been linked lung cancer and other diseases such as mesothlioma, asbestosis, and other forms of cancer in the gastrointestinal and colorectal areas.

Classified as a carcinogen (a cause of cancer), OSHA has made some safety rules in order to lower the risks of health complications for workers. Employers and workers are both required to follow and adhere to the necessities such as having regulated areas, strict work practices, providing proper personal equipment and regular medical check-ups. This is to limit worker’s exposure and ensure their health and safety while working with asbestos.