EPA Bans Chrysotile Asbestos Under TSCA

By: Joe Corbisiero on April 1st, 2024

On March 18th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned chrysotile asbestos, the last form of asbestos used in the United States, under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Its use goes beyond construction and is still used in electronics and automotive applications. Chrysotile asbestos, or white asbestos, makes up 95% of the commercial use of asbestos in the United States. The rule prohibits ongoing uses of the only known form of asbestos currently imported, processed, and distributed in the U.S. The EPA issued the ruling to protect people from lung cancer, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, laryngeal cancer, and other health problems caused by asbestos exposure.

Chrysotile Asbestos Use in Electronics

While asbestos is not commonly used in electronics today, it is important to note that some component manufacturers still use chrysotile asbestos due to its high thermal and electrical insulation capacity. A search of the SiliconExpert database found components that contain chrysotile asbestos available for purchase today. This means that electronics manufacturers should exercise utmost caution when searching for components. They need to ensure they are not opening themselves to lawsuits by using a component that contains chrysotile asbestos, a substance now banned by the EPA.

Chrysotile Asbestos Use in the Automotive Industry

Chrysotile can still be found in the aftermarket automotive industry. White asbestos was mainly used in the automotive industry for heat shields and sinks, brake components, gaskets, adhesives, and sheets. The new EPA ruling will ban the use of asbestos in oilfield brake blocks, aftermarket automotive brakes and linings, other vehicle friction products, and other gaskets six months after the effective date of the final rule.

History of Asbestos Regulation and Consequences of Use

In 1989, the EPA banned asbestos for the first time, but it was overturned two years later by a court ruling. Nevertheless, asbestos use has been decreasing in the United States for many years as awareness grew surrounding the health risks of using asbestos. The EPA first proposed banning chrysotile asbestos under the TSCA back in 2022.

Asbestos litigation costs $2.3 billion per year in the U.S. Source: World Health Organization ReportThe use of asbestos in the United States has had a significant financial impact, costing businesses and local governments about $2.3 billion annually in litigation. This staggering figure underscores the serious consequences of the substance on people’s health and the potential legal implications for those involved in its use.

How Technology Manufacturers Can Get Ahead of the Chrysotile Asbestos Ban

Manufacturers should (and can) start preparing now to remove asbestos from their products by examining their Bill of Materials (BOMs) and Approved Component List (ACL). SiliconExpert helps engineers & compliance managers to identify, solve, and avoid compliance risks with changing compliance regulations. Leveraging CAS Reporting professional services, analysis of BOMs and ACLs is expedited, quickly determining which parts contain hazardous substances like chrysotile asbestos (CAS #12001-29-5). Plus, our Compliance Solutions serve up-to-date information and validated supplier documents on regulatory compliance such as REACH, RoHS, Packaging, Chemical Substances, Conflict Minerals, California Prop 65, and more.

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