Asbestos Regulating Agencies
What is Asbestos Regulating Agencies?
US mesothelioma and asbestos laws were established following the massive increase in asbestos use during World War II and its resulting health effects. Asbestos exposure was found to cause mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer. Consequently, the federal government enacted several statutes to regulate asbestos and, alongside some regulating agencies, to enforce these statutes.
There are several agencies in the United States that regulate asbestos. The most popular are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Both organizations focus on reducing human exposure to asbestos fibers to protect public health and ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.
State agencies also play a role in regulating asbestos. Some states have their own Asbestos Control Programs, which set stricter guidelines than the EPA. These programs are usually run by the state's Department of Environmental Protection or equivalent agency.
Local governments may also have regulations regarding asbestos. For example, some cities require that contractors notify the city if they will be disturbing any materials that may contain asbestos before beginning work. Ultimately these organizations ensure that asbestos is managed in a safe and responsible manner to protect public health and the environment.
When Was Asbestos Banned in the US?
Asbestos was frequently used in various industries for its heat-resistant and insulating properties. However, exposure to asbestos fibers can cause serious health problems, including mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Hence, the mineral was banned around the world.
The United States has not enacted a nationwide ban on asbestos, but the use of asbestos has been heavily restricted since the early 1980s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued regulations that limit asbestos use in certain products and prohibit its use in others. In addition, some states have passed laws banning or restricting the use of asbestos. Asbestos is still present in many older homes and buildings despite these restrictions.
Federal Asbestos Regulations in the US
The United States has several laws and regulations in place to protect workers and the public from asbestos exposure. The main federal law that covers asbestos is the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Under the TSCA, the EPA has the authority to regulate the use of asbestos and asbestos-containing products. The EPA has used this authority to ban certain uses of asbestos, such as in insulation and fireproofing materials.
The United States Congress also passed the Asbestos Information Act in 1988, which requires companies that manufacture, import, or use asbestos to provide the EPA with information about their activities.
In addition, The United States Congress passed the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) in 1986 in order to better regulate asbestos in schools. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for enforcing AHERA, and has set strict guidelines for the removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials.
Other federal statutes pertaining to asbestos regulations include the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act (FHSLA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). These laws set standards for asbestos exposure in the workplace, and require employers to take steps to protect workers from exposure.
Those pertaining to asbestos in the environment include the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). These statutes set requirements for the safe handling and disposal of asbestos-containing materials.
In addition to federal regulations, many states have their own laws and regulations governing asbestos. Some states have adopted the EPA's bans on certain uses of asbestos, while others have more stringent requirements.
Asbestos Regulating Agencies in the US
The US has several agencies that regulate asbestos. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the primary federal agency that regulates asbestos. The EPA's rules are designed to protect public health and the environment from the harmful effects of asbestos exposure.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is another federal agency that regulates asbestos exposure in the workplace. OSHA's rules are designed to protect workers from being exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos.
Other than the EPA and OSHA, several other agencies oversee asbestos regulations within the United States, they are as follows:
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): A research agency that studies ways to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.
- The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA): A federal agency that regulates asbestos exposure in the mining industry.
- The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): A federal agency that regulates asbestos in consumer products.
- The Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Air and Radiation (OAR): The office responsible for regulating asbestos in the air.
Other Asbestos Regulatory Organizations in the US
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responsible for tracking the health effects of asbestos exposure. The CDC operates the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which conducts research on occupational safety and health hazards, including asbestos.
What is the Role of Asbestos Regulators?
Asbestos regulators typically have three main goals: preventing exposure to asbestos fibers, reducing exposure to asbestos fibers when it cannot be avoided, and cleaning up asbestos-contaminated sites. To achieve these goals, asbestos regulators typically set standards for the use of asbestos-containing products, inspect facilities for compliance with these standards, and enforce penalties for violations.
Summarily, asbestos regulators play an important role in ensuring that asbestos-containing products are used safely and in compliance with regulations.
What is the OSHA's Role with Asbestos?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is another federal agency that regulates asbestos. OSHA sets limits on exposure to asbestos in the workplace.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established in 1970 to protect workers from exposure to hazardous conditions, including asbestos. It also sets permissible exposure limits (PELs) for asbestos, and requires employers to take measures to protect workers from exposure.
US OSHA Asbestos Regulations
OSHA's asbestos standards apply to all workplaces where asbestos is present. The standards require employers to take specific steps to protect workers from exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. These steps include using personal protective equipment, such as respirators and protective clothing; providing workers with training on the dangers of asbestos exposure and how to protect themselves; and maintaining a safe work environment.
Employers who fail to comply with OSHA's asbestos standards can be fined up to $70,000 for each violation. Repeat violators can be fined up to $140,000 for each violation. Willful violators can be fined up to $700,000 for each violation.
The OSHA's standards can be summarized thus:
The permissible exposure limit (PEL) for airborne asbestos fibers is 0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air (f/cc), as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA).
Employers must maintain employee exposure to asbestos below the PEL. If controls cannot adequately reduce exposure, employers must provide personal protective clothing and equipment to workers and train them in its proper use.
When employee exposure still cannot be kept below the PEL, employers must establish regulated areas in which only authorized personnel are allowed.
Employers whose employees may be exposed to asbestos must have a written exposure control plan that describes how they will achieve compliance with the OSHA asbestos standards.
The plan must include:
- Procedures for identifying and evaluating asbestos exposure hazards;
- Methods for controlling exposure to asbestos;
- Schedules and instructions for cleaning up asbestos-containing materials;
- Personal protective clothing and equipment that will be provided to employees; and
- Training programs for employees who may be exposed to asbestos.
How to Contact OSHA
Interested members of the public may contact OSHA by:
- Phone: Call the OSHA toll-free number at (800) 321-6742
- Online: Submit a complaint online through OSHA's website.
- In-person: Visit the nearest OSHA office. To find one nearby, visit OSHA's website.
When contacting OSHA, inquirers or complaints must to have the following information ready:
- Their name and contact information
- The name and address of the company where the exposure occurred
- A description of the exposure (e.g., what type of asbestos, how long were you exposed, etc.)
- Any witnesses to the exposure
OSHA will then investigate the complaint and take appropriate action if necessary. Further questions about contacting OSHA or filing a complaint can be made to an OSHA representative at (800) 321-6742.
What is the EPA's Role with Asbestos?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating asbestos in the environment, including public and workplaces. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA is authorized to require reporting, testing, and restrictions relating to asbestos and asbestos-containing products. The EPA has used this authority to ban several asbestos-containing products, including flooring felt and rollboard, corrugated paper, commercial paper, specialty paper, and new uses of asbestos. However, some of these bans are not currently in effect due to lawsuits filed by the asbestos industry.
US EPA Asbestos Regulations
The EPA has established strict regulations for the use of asbestos in an effort to protect workers and the general public from exposure. These regulations cover everything from how asbestos-containing materials can be used and disposed of, to how workers must be protected when working with these materials. The EPA also provides guidance on how to safely remove and dispose of asbestos-containing materials.
The EPA regulations on asbestos use include:
- Restrictions on how asbestos-containing materials can be used
- Requirements for the safe removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials
- Worker safety requirements when working with asbestos-containing material
How to Contact the EPA
Interested members of the public may contact the EPA for asbestos-related cases by calling the Asbestos Ombudsman at (202) 564-8846 or sending an email to email@example.com.
The EPA's Asbestos Web site also provides information on asbestos and links to resources for exposure prevention and control, as well as state and local contacts. Call their main number at (800) 447-4791 or visit their website at www.epa.gov. Once on the website, the user will want to select the "Contacts" tab near the top of the page. On the Contacts page, a list of different offices within the EPA will be displayed. Select the one that is most relevant to the inquiry.
Persons who have been exposed to asbestos may also file a complaint using the EPA's Complaint Form. Complainants may call the EPA's National Compliance Hotline at (888) 734-3247.
What is NIOSH's Role with Asbestos?
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) makes recommendations for the prevention of work-related injuries and illnesses. NIOSH has been involved with asbestos since the early 1970s, when the agency began investigating ways to protect workers exposed to the material.
NIOSH Asbestos Regulations
NIOSH has established exposure limits for asbestos in both the workplace and the home. These limits are designed to protect workers and homeowners from the harmful effects of asbestos exposure.
Per the NIOSH asbestos regulations, the exposure limits for asbestos in the workplace are as follows:
- For airborne asbestos fibers greater than 5 micrometers in length: the time-weighted average concentration may not exceed 0.1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air (f/cc) over an 8-hour workday
- For airborne asbestos fibers that are shorter than 5 micrometers in length: the ceiling concentration may not exceed 1 fiber per cubic centimeter of air (f/cc) at any time during the workday
- For workers who are wearing respirators: the maximum use concentration of asbestos in their breathing zone should not exceed ten times the exposure limit listed above.
NIOSH also provides recommendations for how to reduce exposure to asbestos in the workplace and the home. These recommendations include using personal protective equipment, such as respirators and gloves, when working with or around asbestos-containing materials. Workers and homeowners should also avoid disturbing asbestos-containing materials whenever possible.
What is ASHARA?
ASHARA is the Asbestos Health and Regulatory Authority. It is a government organization that oversees the regulation of asbestos in Australia. ASHARA was established in response to the growing health concerns around exposure to asbestos. The organization works to protect workers and the public from the risks associated with asbestos exposure. ASHARA regulates the use of asbestos in workplaces and public spaces, and provides advice on how to minimize exposure to asbestos. The organization also works with government agencies and industry bodies to develop policies and practices that reduce exposure to asbestos.
ASHARA is committed to protecting the health of workers and the public by reducing exposure to asbestos. The organization provides information and resources on how to minimize exposure to asbestos, and works with government agencies and industry bodies to develop policies and practices that reduce exposure to asbestos.
Worldwide Asbestos Regulatory Organizations
There are a number of national, regional and international organizations that have been established in order to regulate the use of asbestos and protect workers and the public from its dangers.
Some of the most notable regulatory bodies include:
The International Labor Organization (ILO):
The ILO is a United Nations agency that works to improve working conditions and promote decent work for all. One of the ways it does this is by setting international standards on a range of issues, including occupational safety and health.
The ILO has published a number of standards relating to asbestos, including the Asbestos Convention, which requires member states to take measures to protect workers from exposure to asbestos.
The World Health Organization (WHO):
The WHO is the leading international organization on public health. It provides guidance on a range of health issues, including occupational safety and health.
The WHO has published a number of documents relating to asbestos, including the Global Strategy on Occupational Safety and Health, which includes a section on asbestos.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC):
The IARC is part of the World Health Organization. It is responsible for conducting research on the causes of cancer and for providing information to help prevent cancer.
The IARC has classified asbestos as a Group 1 carcinogen, which means that it is known to cause cancer in humans.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):
The UNEP is the leading United Nations agency on environmental issues. It works to protect the environment and to promote sustainable development.
The UNEP has published a number of documents relating to asbestos, including the Asbestos: Time to Breathe report, which calls for a global ban on asbestos.
The Rotterdam Convention:
The Rotterdam Convention is an international treaty that requires countries to provide information on hazardous chemicals before they can be exported.
Asbestos is listed under the Rotterdam Convention, which means that countries must provide information on the hazards of asbestos before it can be exported.
The Stockholm Convention:
The Stockholm Convention is an international treaty that requires countries, as sbestos is listed under the Stockholm Convention, which means that countries must take measures to reduce or eliminate the use of asbestos.
Other international asbestos regulatory organizations include:
- The International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH)
- The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA)
- The Network of Asbestos Victims and Solidarity Groups (NAVSG)
Each country has its own national organization that is responsible for regulating asbestos. In the United States, this organization is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and in Canada, it is the Canadian Center for Occupancy Safety and Health (CCOSH).
What Asbestos Regulating Agency Oversees Occupational Safety in the US?
The Asbestos Regulating Agency (ARA) is the organization responsible for overseeing occupational safety regarding asbestos in the United States. The ARA was established in 1984 in order to protect workers from exposure to asbestos, which can cause serious health problems including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis.
The ARA sets standards for asbestos exposure and requires employers to take steps to protect workers from exposure. Employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE), such as respirators, to workers who are exposed to asbestos. Employers must also ensure that workers are properly trained in how to use PPE and follow work procedures that minimize exposure.
The ARA conducts inspections of workplaces to ensure that they are in compliance with its regulations. The ARA can also investigate complaints from workers who believe they have been exposed to asbestos.
The ARA is part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within the United States Department of Labor. The ARA works closely with OSHA to ensure that workers are protected from exposure to asbestos.
How are Asbestos Workers Protected in the United States?
There are many dangers associated with working with asbestos, and the United States government has put regulations in place in to protect workers. First and foremost, employers are required to provide their employees with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when working with asbestos. This includes items such as gloves, respirators, and eye protection.
In addition to PPE, there are also work practice controls that must be followed when working with asbestos. These include wetting down asbestos materials before starting work, using power tools with dust collection systems, and avoiding dry sweeping or using compressed air to clean up asbestos materials.
Asbestos workers are also required to have regular medical checkups, which can help to detect any early signs of health problems. These checkups usually include chest x-rays and lung function tests.
Finally, employers must inform their employees of the dangers of asbestos exposure and provide them with ACM handling training.
By following these regulations, employers can help to protect their employees from the dangers of asbestos exposure.
Who is Liable for Asbestos Exposure in the US?
When an individual is exposed to asbestos, the person(s) or organization(s) held liable will depend on the circumstances of the exposure. Persons who have been exposed at work may be able to claim compensation from their employer, while those who have been exposed through the use of asbestos-containing products may be able to claim against the manufacturer or supplier of those products.
In cases where the exposure has occurred due to no fault of the individual, they may file a claim under the Asbestos Compensation scheme. This scheme provides compensation to people who have developed an asbestos-related disease and who cannot identify a liable person or organization.