Asbestos is still legal? WTF?
Asbestos Is Still Legal In The United States
… Despite What You May Have Heard!
You know, it’s great that most things that should be illegal actually are illegal in our country.
Murder, rape, theft, drunk driving, fishing without a license, marijuana (wait, not any more), excessive noise after hours, gang warfare, racketeering, elder abuse, child abuse, really, most any kind of abuse… these are all things (with one minor exception) which should be and ARE illegal.
Hopefully, none of this comes as a surprise to our readers.
I’ll tell you, though: What does come as a surprise to FAR too many folks is this:
Asbestos is STILL LEGAL in the United States.
Yes, you read that right. Ugly asbestos, which has been proven to cause the deadly and uncurable mesothelioma lung cancer, is still legal (say again, still legal) here in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
And it has you completely surrounded! Even if you come out with your hands up, there’s still potentially-cancer-causing asbestos all around you. And (not to be too gloomy here) (heh heh) it can kill you.
If I Had A Nickel…
… For every time someone told ME (a highly-trained and distractingly handsome asbestos professional) that “1978 was the last year asbestos was imported into the U.S.,” I’d have made ten cents just today.
The sad fact is that tons and tons of asbestos is imported every year into the United States. That’s last year, this year, and (unless things change in a surprising way) next year, too.
And, speaking of last year, 2020 was memorable for so many things that it might be easy to overlook the fact that over 300 tons of asbestos was imported just to use in a certain process to manufacture chlorine… that was nearly double the 2019 figure.
That doesn’t count all of the “usual” asbestos imports such as building materials… and that’s just what we know about… and that’s just what was imported legally.
You can read more about that here:
It’s illegal in this country to produce asbestos, or to manufacture products which contain the ugly stuff… but as this report suggests, you can legally import all you want.
(I hope you, personally, don’t want to import any asbestos.)
So asbestos comes ashore practically every day (in cargo containers; it doesn’t just wash up on the beach, as far as you know).
That’s because other countries still allow the production and manufacture of asbestos-containing products, such as MANY of the building materials used to erect your home or place-of-business… and even in baby powder, jewelry, and makeup!
Don’t Panic, Though
Well, you can panic if you’re using baby powder or powder makeup which contains asbestos, because when it’s in powder form, it can easily get into the air you breathe, and, well, that’s very bad. So don’t use that stuff.
But as for the asbestos in the building materials which surround you, you don’t need to worry too much about that.
That’s because asbestos is basically a rock, and if it’s left in its solid, undisturbed form (such as in your drywall, your plumbing insulation, your floor tiles, etc., etc.), it isn’t dangerous.
It’s when those materials become disturbed by something such as a bad do-it-yourself project, or a little flood or fire on the premises, that the asbestos rock breaks into tiny microscopic shards o’death.
These shards float around in the air, and you can’t see, hear, feel, taste, or smell them with the naked eye. Nor with any other body parts, naked or otherwise. But you can certainly inhale them, and that is exactly what you don’t want to do much of, if you have any reason to live.
So if you have a reason to live, and reason to believe some asbestos has been disturbed at your place, well, that is disturbing. But it’s still not time to panic. Just come out with your hands up, and then call a professional to have your property properly tested and the asbestos removed.
Asbestos testing and removal costs less than you probably think. Meanwhile, mesothelioma treatments cost plenty, and then you die anyway. So, a little quick math will indicate that it’s certainly best to test your property and have the asbestos abated. And remember, when someone tells you asbestos is illegal in the U.S., you can look at them with the smug satisfaction of knowing they’re full of – well, that they’re just plain wrong.