EPA Proposes Sweeping Ban on Asbestos - Worksite Medical
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new rule that would ban the use of chrysotile asbestos, a carcinogenic mineral that can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma. 

Chrysotile asbestos is the only form of the material imported into the United States. While asbestos use has been monitored and limited in the past few decades, it can still be found in aftermarket automotive brakes and linings, brake blocks, sheet gaskets, and other vehicle friction products.

This is the first proposed ban on asbestos in more than three decades. The EPA issued the proposal under the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, requiring existing chemicals to undergo a risk evaluation.

“Today, we’re taking an important step forward to protect public health and finally put an end to the use of dangerous asbestos in the United States,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in an April 5 press release.

“This historic proposed ban would protect the American people from exposure to chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen, and demonstrates significant progress in our work to implement the Toxic Substances Control Act law and take bold, long-overdue actions to protect those most vulnerable among us.”

Workplace Asbestos Exposure - Buffalo Company Fined - Worksite Medical

The Reasons Behind Banning Asbestos


Asbestos often affects workers through the respiratory system when it is released into the air during abrasion or other processes. According to the American Public Health Association, asbestos kills almost 40,000 Americans each year. 

  • Processing and industrial use of asbestos diaphragms in the Chlor-alkali industry
  • Processing and industrial use of asbestos-containing sheet gaskets in chemical production
  • Industrial use and disposal of asbestos-containing brake blocks in the oil industry
  • Commercial use and disposal of aftermarket automotive asbestos-containing brakes/lining, other vehicle friction products, and other asbestos-containing gaskets

Under a 2016 amendment to the Lautenberg Act, the EPA is required to address risks by proposing regulatory actions within one year of a chemical review’s release and then accept public comment on any proposals. These regulatory actions include training, certification, restricted action and/or ban of commercial use. 

Workplace asbestos exposure

Next Steps


After the final rule is published, it will take up to two years to ban asbestos diaphragms and sheet gaskets for commercial use and up to 180 days for bans relating to brake blocks, brakes/linings, other vehicle friction products, and other asbestos-containing gaskets. 

The EPA notes that, although the proposal doesn’t address legacy uses and disposal of asbestos, the conditions will be under review in Part 2 of the final risk evaluation. 

That evaluation is set to be finalized by Dec. 1, 2025.


Related Article: 5 Occupations with High Asbestos Exposure Risk


Asbestos Physical Exams


As per OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.1001, employers are required to institute a medical surveillance program for all employees exposed to airborne concentrations of asbestos at or above the permissible exposure limit (PEL) or excursion limit (EL).

The full OSHA asbestos physical must be performed by or under the supervision of a licensed physician. Furthermore, the physical must be made available annually with the exception of the chest x-ray, which is conducted every five years within the first ten years of exposure.

After ten years, the frequency of the x-ray depends on the age of the employee. Employers must also keep accurate records of exposure measurements for at least 30 years.

To learn more, or to schedule your on-site asbestos physical exams, click here.



About Worksite Medical

In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.

Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.

We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.

With Worksite Medical, a mobile medical testing unit — we can bring all the resources of a lab to you. Our certified lab technicians can perform both qualitative and quantitative respirator tests to ensure a perfect fit.

Protect your team and your workplace now with Worksite Medical. Not sure what you need? Try our medical testing wizard here.

Give us a call at 1-844-622-8633, or complete the form below to schedule an on-site visit or to get your free quote!




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