Center for Asbestos Safety

Center for Asbestos Safety in the Workplace


The epidemic of chronic diseases caused by asbestos has been called "the worst workplace tragedy in American history."

This site is a resource for anybody who has worked with or near asbestos in the past or who works near asbestos today. Retired workers need to know about who might have been exposed, the health effects of asbestos, and what they can do if they become ill. Today's workers need to know how to protect themselves, their families, and their co-workers from the effects of asbestos.

People who work with asbestos have increased chances of getting cancer, both lung cancer and mesothelioma, a cancer of the thin membrane that surrounds the lung and other internal organs. Sickness does not develop immediately, but appears years after exposure. Engineering controls include such things as isolating the asbestos and using air control (ventilation zones). Two simple things employers can do to reduce risk are limiting the workers exposure time and providing showers. Personal protective equipment includes respiratory protection and clothing.

Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral that can be found in abundance in countries around the world. Asbestos can be excavated from the soil or extracted from a variety of geological rock formations, and while the material exists in numerous types, chemical compositions, and colors


In this site we answer the questions:

What is asbestos and why is it dangerous?

How can I protect myself and my family if I work near asbestos?

What should I do if I've been exposed?

Legal Status of Asbestos

While the European Union and several other countries (such as Australia, Argentina, Chile and Croatia) have passed laws to ban the use of asbestos, this is not the case in the United States. Asbestos has never been explicitly outlawed in America, though significant regulations have been passed that limit its use.

Specifically, the use of asbestos is illegal in the U.S. for products such as flooring felt, rollboard, and corrugated or commercial paper. The use of asbestos is also banned in "new use" products that do not have a history of containing asbestos minerals.

Asbestos Regulations

In order to limit the hazards associated with legal asbestos products, numerous regulations have been passed. These regulations include the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1979 and the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) of 1986. Both of these early asbestos regulations pertain largely to the use of asbestos in schools. For example, AHERA requires for adequate efforts to be taken to remove or quarantine asbestos materials identified in schools.

Broader regulations for asbestos are laid forth by the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) initiative. Initially part of the Clean Air Act of 1970, NESHAP has been amended numerous times to strengthen regulations on asbestos. These regulations largely pertain to safe work practices when installing and removing asbestos building materials. The goal of NESHAP is to limit the amount of asbestos fibers released into the air.

All U.S. asbestos-related regulations are enforced and overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Center for Asbestos
Safety in the Workplace