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Asbestos

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 

Context: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the USA has announced a comprehensive ban on asbestos, a deadly carcinogen still present in some products despite previous partial bans.

  • This new rule expands EPA regulation under a 2016 law aimed at overseeing toxic chemicals in everyday items.
  • The ban specifically targets chrysotile asbestos, the only remaining form of asbestos used in the US, found in products like brake linings and chlorine bleach.
  • Asbestos exposure is linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma, causing over 40,000 deaths annually in the US.

 

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is heat and corrosion-resistant. It is found in rocks and soil and has been used in many products for insulation and as a fire retardant

Asbestos can release microscopic fibres into the air when asbestos-containing material is disturbed or damaged. Inhaling these fibres can cause lung damage, including cancer, and other health problems

The most dangerous type of asbestos is crocidolite asbestos, also known as blue asbestos. Other types of asbestos include:

  • Actinolite asbestos: Used in products like cement, insulation, paint, and drywall
  • Amosite asbestos: Brown asbestos commonly used in cement, insulation, roofing, and other construction materials