Safety Commission Issues Asbestos Warning
WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Consumer Product Safety Commission voted Thursday to require warning labels on consumer products that contain asbestos and to support the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to ban the product.
As a first step, the commission said it would issue a safety alert, to caution consumers that asbestos may be present in many common products, including stove pads, iron rests, some papers and millboards, furnace cement, stove door gaskets, laboratory and artists materials and duct connections.
In addition, the agency said it believed products containing asbestos should carry warning labels under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.
That decision will be formally issued in the Federal Register, the agency reported, after which asbestos products without labels could then be recalled as misbranded.
Asbestos, which has been found to cause cancer when inhaled, was once widely used in construction and other uses, primarily because of its fire resistance.
In recent years, various agencies have sought to reduce public exposure to asbestos, with efforts underway to limit its industrial use and to get the product removed from schools and other public buildings.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration only two weeks ago ordered a tenfold reduction in worker exposure to asbestos. In January, the EPA proposed to ban asbestos entirely, and rid the environment of all products containing it over the next 10 years.
EPA officials estimate that asbestos dust causes between 3,300 and 12,000 new cancer cases annually, nearly all of them fatal.